John P's story

I’m really pleased about the outcome of the case. I believed I was entitled to holiday pay, and with the support of Unite Legal Services I obtained the holiday pay I was rightfully owed

Unite member, John Plumb, worked for a print company when he was injured in an accident at work. 

As a result of his injury, he was off work from April 2010 until his employment ended in February 2014. During this time, John did not take any holiday in 2010, 2011 or 2012. 

He approached Unite Legal Services for assistance and was advised that he was entitled to take holiday during his sickness absence, but the law was uncertain about how much holiday he would be entitled to. 

John decided to take the case forward, with the backing of Unite Legal Services, to confirm what holiday leave he was legally entitled to, and to also clarify the law on holiday entitlement for other employees on long-term sickness. 

The case established that individuals who are on sickness-related absence can take holiday. If an individual does not want to take this holiday because they are unwilling or unable to do so, they can carry 20 days’ holiday forward from the current leave year into the next; they will have 18 months from the start of the next leave year to take the holiday entitlement. If it is not taken within this time it is lost. 

In John’s case he had not taken the holiday he accrued in the leave years 2010, 2011 and 2012. He was paid for holiday in 2013. 

A Tribunal found that John was eligible to carry forward a maximum of 20 days’ holiday from each year, but that as he had not taken his holiday entitlement for 2010 and 2011 within 18 months of the start of the next leave year, it was lost. He was, however, entitled to 20 days’ holiday for 2012 given that he had 18 months to take it. As John’s employment was terminated before the end of this period, he was subsequently owed 20 days’ holiday pay. 

John said:

“I’m told that I have also set a precedent for future cases, so I am glad that I could help others who may be in a situation like I was.”