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Q: It just cannot be true can it, that workers on long-term sick leave are entitled to paid holidays? A:Yes, I am afraid it is. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that all workers will be entitled to paid annual holiday under the EC Working Time Directive even when they are off sick. In Stringer v HMRC, the ECJ stated that national Courts should decide whether paid holiday leave can be taken whilst the worker is off sick or whether it should be carried forward to the next year. The ECJ concluded that a worker has a right to paid leave from their first day of employment and does not lose this right if they are unable to work through illness and must therefore be compensated for any untaken holiday entitlement. It will be up to the House of Lords to decide whether the leave may be taken whilst off sick or whether it should be carried forward until they return to work.

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