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Fraser v Southwest London St George's Mental Health Trust - Annual leave and the requirement to request it [2011] EAT

An employee has a legal entitlement to annual leave, and that right accrues even where the employee is off sick. However, to actually exercise that right the employee must request to take the leave, and the general rule is that if they fail to do so within the leave year in question then they simply lose the right to take that leave. Holiday pay can only be claimed for leave actually taken, and this applies equally to an employee who is off sick. If they fail to request leave, then they will lose the right to it at the end of the leave year.

Following an accident at work in 2005, Mrs Fraser went off sick. Her sick-pay entitlement expired in August 2006, but in November 2007  - although she still did not return to work - the Trust resumed paying her, since she had been certified fit to return to work but not her full duties, and it had no other role for her. In March 2008 the Trust stopped paying her again and in due course she was dismissed.

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