We were recently asked by one of our client employer's whether an employee could use some of their holiday entitlement instead of having 3 days unpaid before receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
As we had never been asked this before we sought confirmation on the ACAS website and an employee can take annual leave whilst off sick if they want to. It is the employee's choice but they can obviously only do this if they have holiday entitlement remaining for the year. You should of course bear in mind when your company's holiday year ends and whether your employees are expected to save holiday for company shut down - for example over Christmas and New Year.
It is beneficial to the employee if they can use holiday as SSP is currently £86.70 per week with the first 3 days of sickness unpaid - unless you have a company sick pay scheme in place.
If the employee chooses not to use holiday during sickness absence their holiday entitlement continues to accrue and unused holiday should be carried forward into the next holiday year.