Tribunal Allows Holidays to be Carried Forward
Following two important decisions on holiday pay (Stinger and Pereda) from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) , an employment tribunal has now ruled in a case (believed to be the first case of this nature since last year’s decisions) in favour of the employee.
The case – Shah v First West Yorkshire Ltd – involved an employee that was off sick for three months, but had previously booked leave to be taken within this period. The employee wanted to change the timing of his leave, but as this meant the leave would have to be carried forward to the next year, the employer refused the request.
The Tribunal ruled that the employer’s approach was wrong: while the Working Time Regulations specify that no more than eight days can be carried forward, the Tribunal felt that Shah was “entitled to take the holidays which he was prevented by ill-health from taking… in the following leave year.”
The judgement confirms that the law on carrying forward holidays in the UK is currently a grey area. In normal circumstances carrying-forward more than eight days should not be permitted, and the case of Lyons v Mitie Security confirms that employers do not always have to approve leave, even if the alternative will be for the employee to lose it. But in cases where an employee is unable to take leave due to illness, employers should normally consider permitting the leave to be carried forward.