Sick pay and holiday pay
Employees cannot get sick pay and holiday pay at the same time.
Taking holiday while off sick
An employee can take holiday (annual leave) while off sick. For example, if they:
- are not physically able to work, but physically able to take a holiday
- have a mental health condition that might be helped by a holiday
- are off sick long term and a holiday might help with their recovery
It's up to an employee to request holiday while off sick. An employer cannot force an employee to take holiday while off sick.
If the employer approves the employee’s holiday request:
- sick leave can be paused while the employee takes holiday
- the employee should get holiday pay while they are on holiday
After the employee has taken the holiday, sick leave can continue if they're still not well enough to return to work.
If an employee is sick on holiday
An employee must report their sickness to their employer if they want to take any holiday as sick leave.
In this case the employee can:
- get sick pay for the time they were sick (as long as they are entitled to sick pay)
- keep the time they were sick to use as holiday another time
Building up holiday when off sick
Employees build up (‘accrue’) holiday as normal while they’re off sick.
Workplaces can have different rules on how they pay for holiday and sick leave, so it’s a good idea to check the employment contract or any written rules the employer has.
Long-term sick leave
If someone has not been able to use their holiday because they’ve been on long-term sick leave, they can carry it over.
Employees on long-term sick leave can carry over 4 weeks’ unused holiday, unless the employer allows more to be carried over. This holiday must be used within 18 months from the date it’s carried over.
Find out more about holiday entitlement.