Annual leave when sick – law change in Ireland

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HR Team is advising employers to note that workers can accrue annual leave while on long term sick leave.

Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash announced recently that workers absent due to long term illness can accrue annual leave.

The legislation – which came into effect on August 1 – means workers are now permitted to carry over such accrued annual leave for a period of 15 months after the leave year in question.


The new legislation was put in place following European Court of Justice rulings on accrual of annual leave entitlements during sick leave. Minister Nash secured Cabinet agreement last November to amend the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 in order to make the legislative changes which took effect this summer.

HR Team Managing Partner Martina McAuley said: “Some employers we have encountered were not aware of this change in the law. It is important that all employers ensure that they are compliant with ever changing legislation regarding employment. This recent change in the law surrounding annual leave is something that we’re advising clients in the Republic of Ireland to take heed of to ensure they do not find themselves at risk of tribunal.”

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