More than 12 days of annual leave remaining from 2021?

*In 2023 it should no longer be necessary to request the transfer of days where it is a right thanks to our initiative [1].*

For those of you with surplus days of annual leave: check out the viable reasons for requesting that the days (in addition to the standard 12 days) be added to your 2022 quota: either for requirements of the service or for health reasons. Even if you do not fall into one of the categories listed, please discuss with your line manager rather than just assume the days are lost. A plan of when you will spend the days and a reason for having been unable to use them gives hierarchy the opportunity to be flexible and understanding, particularly in the context of the pandemic. Some 7 664 days of annual leave days were lost and not carried-over from 2020 to 2021: this is far from ideal [2].

Please also note that even the days carried over can still be lost: they have an expiry date. ‘If the extra days are not used in the 15 months following the carryover, concretely before 31/03 of the following year, the official will automatically lose the entitlement unless service-related reasons can be successfully invoked. The GECOs are asked to inform the person about the existence of this deadline.’ (Guidelines, 06.06.2017) So if you carried over 19 working days (i.e. 12+7) from 2020 to 2021, then 7 of those days need to be taken by 31 March 2022 otherwise they lost.

Health reasons are subdivided into how many working days you were  absent  and whether those days were together as one long absence or spread out over several absences.

One long absence of at least 20 working days

You have the right to carry over all remaining days if you are absent ‘for 20 consecutive working days or more (thus excluding weekends and public holidays)’ (point 1). So for example, someone who is sick for the whole month of April 2021 is out of the office for 22 days but is sick for only 19 of those days due to there being 3 public holidays. Please be aware of this when looking at the options for returning to the office, especially if you are approaching this 20-working-day minimum.

Spread over several absences of any total length

You can ask for, but might not be granted, the carrying over of all remaining days ‘if you are absent (a) 20 working days or more but not consecutive, i.e. spread out over the year or (b) less than 20 consecutive working days, likewise spread out over the year… [if you] can prove that those days of sick leave prevented [you] from using [your] days of annual leave during [2021]’. (point 2)

Unfortunately this process is not yet automatic, even where you’ve been sick for 20 days or more, though Ms Ingestad has agreed to our request for this to be automated in sysper [3]. In the meantime, for 2022, please don’t miss out! See below: it’s not a complicated process. [4]

The button to click in Sysper2 (available 1-31.01.2022):

Time management>leave rights>rights>Annual leave>Summary and click on the button ‘Leave carry-over request’: insert your comment to justify your request.

Annual leave is precious! Please enjoy it as best you can! If you are sick during annual leave remember that if you act fast you can recover the days.

Unwritten or lesser-known rules

We’d like to hear from you if you’ve had difficulties with unwritten or lesser-known rules related to sickness and/or leave. Do you know of any cases where people have had a rule applied to their situation which is not published on MyIntracomm i.e. a convention or tradition rather than a hard rule? Do you have any tips or questions to share? We’d like to help to make the whole process a little more transparent and user-friendly, if we can.  Here are some we’ve already collected.

  • If you are returning to the office after sick leave, you can sometimes request a phased return to work (medical part time) in order to get back up to speed or to accommodate ongoing out-patient treatments.
  • If you are sick immediately before or after annual leave then specific rules apply: familiarise yourself with what’s needed.
  • If your Member State does not provide sickness certificates check equivalent/workaround documents e.g. a wellness certificate or similar. (This is a known issue in the Netherlands.)
  • Even if your Member State issues backdated sickness certificates, the Medical Service accepts them only from the date of the medical appointment, so a 5-day certificate might be valid in sysper for only 3 days if it was backdated.
  • If you are already on sick leave and you want to stay anywhere other than your normal place of residence inform the medical service to avoid problems.
  • The Medical Service can override a sickness certificate from a doctor e.g. they can ‘invite’ you to return to work (if this were to happen the colleague could then appeal (see questions 16 and 17 of the FAQ from the medical service)).
  • Keep an email in the draft folder of your private email account already set up with all the email addresses of those you have to inform when you are sick: the day you are sick you don’t have to try to find this information, just send the email.
  • Sick leave without a certificate: do you use this while waiting for a doctor’s appointment? Is this to be used for some situations and not others?
  • How often are you expected to check your work email when you are off sick? (The Medical Service will use your work email address to communicate with you.)

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us, we’ve been through many of these processes.


[1] The papertrail:

  • 22.07.2022 CSC to HR asking for confirmation that the changes will be ready for 2023
  • 01.03.2022 HR agrees to additional request
  • 31.01.2022 CSC follows up with an additional request
  • 22.12.2021 HR agrees to both requests
  • 30.11.2021  CSC to HR Current rules for carry-over of annual leave in cases of long-term sick leave risk excluding eligible colleagues

[2] Ms Ingestad note to the CSC 10.01.2022 (response to 30/11/2021(2021)7365504) provided this figure.

[3] Ms Ingestad (10.01.2022) agreed that this should be done and will be implemented for the carry-over exercise in 2023: a small success! We raised the issue of automation in the Central Staff Committee and drafted the corresponding note (30.11.2021). We drafted the note to follow up on the figures provided and will check in on the progress on automation in June 2022.

[4] In addition to sick leave, in 2020 it also covered those whose COVID‑19 workload meant that taking annual leave was not a possibility. (See section ‘If you have more than 12 days of annual leave remaining for 2020’.) We have requested clarification on whether this will also be possible for 2021. We suggest that the precedent is there, try it anyway and let us know how you get on.

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