Holiday entitlement and sick leave

Published on : 29/04/2024 29 April Apr 04 2024

On April 10th, 2024, the French Parliament adopted a new law updating the French Labour Code to ensure compliance with European law on employees’ right to holiday entitlement while on sick leave. This was rendered necessary following several rulings by the French Supreme Court in September 2023 which had prompted much debate. 

Under French law, employees acquire a certain number of days of holiday during a 12-month period (acquisition period) that they can then take during the following 12-month period (holiday period). Moreover, under French law, a distinction is made between sick leave resulting from a work accident or occupation illness (work-related sick leave) and ordinary sick leave.

In the past, only employees on work-related sick leave could acquire holidays during their sick leave (2.5 days holiday entitlement per month i.e. maximum 5 weeks holiday per yearly reference period).

Under the new law, employees on non-work-related sick leave will also acquire holidays (2 days holiday entitlement per month i.e. maximum 4 weeks holiday per yearly reference period).Moreover, under the new law, if employees were not able to take all their holidays before their sick leave, they can take them upon their return to work over a period of 15 months. This 15-month period starts running from the date the employer has informed the employees of the number of days they have acquired and the time period they have to take them. The employer has 1 month in which to provide this information.

With regards holidays acquired during the sick leave, there is also a 15-month carry-over period, but the start date of this period is different according to the situation. 

If employees were on sick leave for less than 1 year during the acquisition period, as above, the carry-over period starts from the employer having provided the necessary information upon their return to work.

However, if employees were on sick leave during the entire acquisition period, the 15-month period starts running from the end of such acquisition period. 

For employees who were on sick leave before the new law but after December 1st, 2009, they can claim the additional holiday entitlement they should have enjoyed but such claims must be made within the next 2 years.


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