In order to accurately calculate the number of annual leave days an employee is entitled to it is necessary to incorporate all hours worked in the calculation including time spent on annual leave (yes, employees accrue annual leave while on annual leave!), time spent on maternity leave, parental leave, force majeure leave or adoptive leave as well as time spent on the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave and certified sick leave. Employees do not accrue annual leave while on occupational injury leave, temporary lay-off, or career break.
If an employee falls sick during his or her annual leave this day(s) is not counted as annual leave (once it is covered by a medical certificate) and the annual leave day is kept for them to use at a later date.
Employees on long-term sick leave can retain annual leave they could not take due to illness for up to 15 months after the end of the year in which it is accrued. Workers who leave their employment within 15 months of the end of the year in which this annual leave was accrued, are entitled to payment in lieu of this leave which was untaken due to illness.
It is common practice for an employee to request their desired leave dates and usually, once an agreed period of advance notice is given (allowing the employer to arrange suitable cover etc.), the employer agrees. Annual leave is usually discussed in terms of weeks but, with employer consent, it can be broken down into shorter periods – often days or even half days at a time. It is the employer who approves holidays (it would not work from a business perspective if all employees were to arrange leave at the same time, for instance). The employer is, however, required to take the employee’s family responsibilities and need for rest and recreation into consideration.
This annual leave must be given to employees within the leave year or, with the consent of the employee, within the first six months of the following year. The onus is on the employer to ensure that the employee takes their statutory leave allocation within the appropriate period. Employees may, with the consent of the employer, carry over holidays that exceed the statutory allowance to the next year.
If the contract of employment is terminated and there is unused annual leave in respect of the employee the employer is obliged to compensate the employee for the accrued leave. It is illegal to pay an employee in lieu of the minimum statutory leave entitlement unless the employment relationship is terminated.