It’s emerged that BBC staff are allowed to claim extra holidays if they become ill during their original holiday time off. This will be available to workers who are sick for four days or more during their annual leave, provided they produce a sick note from their physician. This is a benefit not currently available in the private sector, and critics say the controversial practice may cost a fortune for licence fee payers.
The extra holidays system sees workers credited with more days for time off if they fall ill during the original dates of their holiday. This has been dubbed by some as a possible malingerer’s charter that’s open to abuse. Millions of other workers in the public sector have the same rules written into their contracts with NHS trusts, local authorities and civil services.
It’s been revealed that the BBC adopted the policy several years ago as part of its Health and Sickness Absence Policy. The broadcaster has been unable to detail the number of staff that have taken advantage of the rule. The company claims not to have a central record for the number of people who have brought in a doctor’s note after being sick on their holidays.
The BBC says staff will be credited more holiday days if they can provide a Statement of Fitness for Work that confirms the dates they were sick. The broadcaster is a responsible employer and wants to ensure its staff is able to take adequate rest and time off through annual leave, it added.
Most staff in the private sector would think it’s bad luck to get sick while on holiday and have no expectation of getting the days off back. However, the system is being lined up to be imposed in British law for all workers after a European Court of Justice ruling. It’s expected to be introduced to all businesses in October at an estimated £100 million cost.
The ruling from the European Court of Justice followed the case of a Spanish road employee who sued his employer for refusing to change his time off when he got sick just days prior to his break. The judges found that the worker, who was ill for about two days of his 14-day holiday time, was entitled to real rest instead of just time off.
This practice has made critics angry, and Business Secretary Vince Cable has said he will fight it. The TaxPayers’ Alliance has hit out at the policy as well, with a spokesman saying that, although it’s a lovey idea, other workers have to just smile and bear it if they are sick while on holiday. The system is open to abuse – even to producing sick notes – and the law makes it potentially more expensive for businesses to take on staff, he continued. It will cost a fortune for British companies and licence fee payers, the spokesman added.
Author's Google+ page