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Annual leave accruel while on sick leave!

Employees in the private sector are unlikely to succeed in their claim for accrual of annual leave while out on sick leave until the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 is amended following two recent Labour Court decisions.

Under current Irish legislation, annual leave entitlements are based on hours physically worked. The Court noted that the EU Working Time Directive cannot have direct effect in a case involving private parties.  The Workplace Relations Bill seeks to amend the Act to bring it in line with recent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding annual leave entitlements.  The Bill provides, inter alia, that an employee who is absent from the workplace on certified sick leave will accrue annual leave during that period subject to a 15 month carry over period.