Paid Leave Acquisition during Sick Leave

Paid Leave Acquisition during Sick Leave: new rules applicable as of 14 September 2023!

Paid leave is one of the most important employee benefits in France. For a complete reference year, employees are entitles to 5 weeks of paid time off. The question regularly arises how absences impact the leave entitlement. Several judgments of the French court ‘Cour of Cassation’ now changed the rules regarding the acquisition of paid leave during sick leave absences.

Here an insight into the old and new rules and an example of application of these rules.

Paid Leave Acquisition: Previous Legal Position

Employees on sick leave acquired vacation days only during a limited time:
– Acquisition during up to one year for an absence due to a work accident or a sickness of professional origin
– Acquisition during an absence of up to 4 weeks per reference year for any other absence, e.g. sickness of non-professional origin

Paid Leave Acquisition & Sick Leave: New Rules

Whatever the origin of the sick leave, employees will now continue to acquire paid time off.
Meaning, during the period of sick leave, the employee can acquire their full paid leave entitlement, that is 5 weeks based on the French labor code.

Application of the new acquisition rules – a case study

Many questions as to the application of the new rules remain unanswered. Given the vagueness relating to the judgements, an application as follows seems plausible:

Example: Employee on sick leave (non-professional origin) from 05/06/2023 to 31/01/2024

Period 05/06/2023 until 13/09/2023 : Application of old rules, that is acquisition of paid time off only during the first 4 weeks of sickness.
Period 14/09/2023 until 31/10/2023 : Application of new rules, that is full acquisition of paid leave during this period.

If there are no further absences until the end of the reference period, the employee will acquire 20 leave days based on a 5-day work week:

06/2023 2.08
07/2023 0
08/2023 0
09/2023 1.15 (2.08 / 21.67 * 12)
10/2023 2.08
11/2023 2.08
12/2023 2.08
01/2024 2.08
02/2024 2.08
03/2024 2.08
04/2024 2.08
05/2024 2.08
TOTAL 19.96 rounded up to 20

In this example, the employee will acquire a total of 20, even though being absent for half of the reference period.

The new paid leave acquisition rules in the case of sick leave will have a significant impact on certain employees’ leave entitlement.

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