Is an employee on Health & Safety Leave entitled to accrue annual holidays and public holidays?
A woman is granted health and safety leave from employment if her employer cannot remove a risk to her health and safety while she is pregnant, or breastfeeding, or assign her alternative “risk-free” duties.
Health and Safety Risk Assessment
An employer should carry out risk assessments in relation to pregnant or breastfeeding employees.
If there are particular risks to an employee’s pregnancy, these should be either removed or the employee moved away from them.
Under Section 18 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 if neither of these options is possible, the employee should be given health and safety leave from work, which may continue up the beginning of maternity leave.
If a doctor certifies that night work would be unsuitable for a pregnant employee, the employee must be given alternative work or health and safety leave.
Following an employee’s return to work after maternity leave, if there is any risk to the employee because she has recently given birth or is breastfeeding, it should be removed.
If this is not possible, the employee should be moved to alternative work.
If it is not possible for the employee to be assigned alternative work, she should be given health and safety leave.
If night work is certified by a doctor as being unsuitable after the birth, alternative work should be provided. If alternative work cannot be provided, the employee should be given health and safety leave.
Health and Safety Leave – Employee Rights
Time spent on health and safety leave is treated as though the employee has been in employment, and this time can be used to accumulate annual leave entitlement.
However, the employee is not entitled to leave for any public holidays that occur during health and safety leave.
To qualify for Health and Safety Benefit, the employee must meet certain criteria and social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions. The employer pays the first 21 days (3 weeks) of health and safety leave, and the Department of Social Protection may pay the remainder.Tweet