Can I take a sick day when on holiday?

Have you ever wished you could change your holiday day to a sick day? Picture this in your mind:

You’re on holiday. You’re having a great time with your friends or family. But one day, you wake up and you feel terrible. You’ve caught some nasty bug on the flight, or you’ve eaten a local delicacy that doesn’t agree with you. So now, instead of going on the city tour, visiting the museum, or heading down to the pool for a lazy afternoon of tasty drinks with umbrellas in them, you find yourself hiding from the sun inside your hotel room.

Well don’t you worry about it. UK law is here to help.

A sick day is a sick day when it comes to your rights. Even if you are on holiday already, you are still entitled to take the day as a sick day. Don’t waste you well earned holiday allowance.

Speak to your employer and you can change your holiday to sickness for all the days you are sick.

Why not to use a sick day when on holiday?

The biggest reason not to convert your holiday to sick is basically pay. What is the sick pay policy at your work?

Your employer can decide how many sick days they will pay you full salary for. Once you reach that limit, any sick day you have will mean you only get paid Statutory Sick Pay. This is just £96.35 per WEEK, in the UK (April 2021).

At this point you need decide what is more important: The money, or the wasted holiday time.

Not sure how to decide? Try this: Imagine if the situation was reversed. If you were off sick and only going to get paid Statutory Sick Pay, would you rather use up a holiday day instead of a sick day? Because this is something that you may want to do.

If you decide you want to reclaim your holiday day and log a sick day, just speak to your employer, or adjust your holiday request in your absence management software and away you go.

Articles written by and for SkyHR for our blog and other sections of our main website,, by the central SkyHR team

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