Can you go on holiday whilst on sick leave?

Hi all, I'd like to get your advice, I am due to have major surgery in June but already had a holiday booked for the end of July. I didn't want to put off the op as I've been waiting for ages and who knows when I'll get another date. I'm going to talk to the surgeon to see if he thinks I will be ok to go, it's only over to France so not far, if he says no then we have holiday insurance so that should be ok. My question is, if I am signed off sick from work, can I still go on holiday? Will I get in trouble for going? Personally I think lazing by a pool in the sun is the perfect way to recover from an op but not so sure my work will agree. The holiday is to celebrate our first wedding anniversary so I really want to go. Any advice would be gratefully received xxx

6 Replies

  • Legally (if in UK) yes you can go on holiday particularly if pre-booked. There is always the assumption being off sick from work means you can't do anything else but the law is clear: working and popping to shops, going on holiday, etc. are not the same thing. As you say, relaxing by a pool is likely to help your recovery rather than hinder it. I'd check with your contract/terms of employment but in general there isn't anything an employer can do to you if you want to go on holiday. If you're off sick, you may even be permitted to 'reclaim' your holiday leave BUT be careful as most firms require, when off sick, to remain contactable and/or available for review meetings.

  • Thanks for your reply, it's a very grey area, I've checked my company policies and it mentions nothing about it. do you know if you are required to tell them you are away? I'm going to go by surgeons advice whatever happens but don't want to miss out on the holiday if there is no reason to. I'm sure it'll be frowned upon if anyone from work finds out and I'll feel guilty but I desperately want to go! x

  • I would go, there wouldn't be any reason to tell your employer that I can think of you are still recuperating just in a different location. At the same point I would be wary of sticking pictures of yourself from said hol on social media etc. particularly if you are linked to work colleagues - it won't give a good impression, you will prob look fab even if you feel rubbish! xx

  • Hi, if you are up to travelling and the surgeon says so, then I would go as no doubt relaxing by the pool will do you good. Just because you are signed off sick does not mean you should be cooped up at home the whole time....getting out and doing nice things can speed up your physical and mental recovery. However, a lot of people who haven't been through a major operation just don't get this and will assume you are taking advantage. I would suggest you don't tell your work colleagues or post anything on social media xx

  • If your medical practice states that you can go, then go; you don't need to inform work that you're away on holiday and if you're taking your leave which was pre-booked then technically there's nothing they can do to stop you. Just ensure that you do not try to have your leave converted into sickness as that would be difficult and potentially (in civil law) open you up to dismissal. In essence, you can go on holiday as it is pre-booked but just make sure you leave it as annual leave on your record rather than try to make it sickness absence (which you're permitted to do in most cases but not if you actually do go on holiday). hope that makes sense.

  • I don't know about the sick leave v holiday time question (I quickly re-skimmed your letter and it's not obvious from what you say that you had already booked the holiday leave), but are you sure you will be covered by your travel insurance? I would reread your policy to check.

    I was under the impression that most TI companies insist you tell them if anything happens after taking out the insurance, but before the holiday starts. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I am phobic about TI - don't trust any of them an inch!

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