Currently employees working in the private sector are not entitled to build up holidays whilst on sick leave - it is up to the discretion of the employer.
Under new laws about to take effect, private sector employees on long-term sick leave WILL be entitled to accrue annual leave.
The rule relating to the holiday accrual is contained within the Workplace Relations Bill, which makes sweeping changes and reforms to Irish Employment law. The new law will mean that employees will now be entitled to accrue holiday leave while off sick. (though they will have to use the holiday days within 15 months of accruing them.)
Traditionally in Ireland, by virtue of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, employees in Ireland don’t accrue annual leave in such circumstances. However, recent key decisions in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have meant that the Irish approach was out of sync with European requirements. Minister of State for Business and Employment, Gerald Nash opened up discussions on including these amendments in the Workplace Relations Bill.
The Workplace Relations Bill has now passed both Houses of the Oireachtas and will be signed into law by the President in the coming weeks, with a commencement date of July 1st looking likely. However the holiday provisions will be commenced immediately following the signing by the President.