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Businesses concerned over EU 'sickness while on holiday' law

Employment Law & HR update 06/03/2012

British business leaders have expressed concern over new European legislation that will allow workers to take more time off if they fall sick during their annual leave.

The new EU law is to come into effect in October and will mean employers will be obliged to give employees further time off to compensate for the time they were sick, providing that they produce a medical note.

The law has been brought in to ensure that EU employees are guaranteed at least four weeks of holiday every year, but the Daily Telegraph newspaper has claimed that it could come at a cost of around £100 million to British industry.

Guy Bailey, the head of employment and employee relations at the CBI, one of Britain’s biggest business organisations, said that the British government needed to seriously consider the potential harm the law could cause to the national economy.

“While active discussions are ongoing in Brussels on the future of the working time directive, it may make sense for the UK government to pause before implementing the latest European court of justice rulings,” he said. “Introducing a set of changes in October that immediately have to be reviewed and replaced would not be a good outcome.”

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said, however, that they continued to support the legislation and would be bringing it in as planned later this year.

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