EU Rules on Workers' Annual Leave

EU Rules on Workers' Annual Leave

Workers who fall ill during their annual leave are entitled to take corresponding paid leave at a later date the European Courts of Justice (ECJ) have ruled. The ECJ ruling is legally binding throughout the EU.

This ruling was prompted by a Spanish Trade Union case against a group of department stores. The right to paid annual leave cannot be interpreted restrictively the Court said. The Courts in Luxembourg said the EU working time directive grants workers a right to a least four weeks' paid annual leave even when such leave coincides with a period of sick leave. The ECJ says the point at which the temporary incapacity arose is irrelevant. Consequently a worker is entitled to take paid annual leave which coincides with a period of sick leave at a later point in time irrespective of the point at which the incapacity for work arose. According to an earlier ECJ ruling, workers who fall sick before a period of annual leave can also re-schedule that leave so that it does not clash with sick leave.

Workers who believe their employer has infringed their right to paid annual leave can seek justice in their national Courts. Infringement cases against employers who violate this directive can also be brought by the European Commissioner in National governments.

In cases where workers fall sick towards the end of the year and are unable to take all of their annual leave they can under EU Law carry over the unused leave into the next accounting period. The ECJ has also ruled that those on long term sick leave have a right to accumulate up to a year of unused annual leave. The ECJ has however said that the amount is not open-ended and member states can set an upper limit.

Michael O'Shea and Co. Solicitors

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While travelling on the M50 at junction 11, exit toward Tallaght Rd/R137. Travel for 0.9 km, keeping left and following signs for N81/City Centre/Templeogue and merge onto Tallaght Rd/R137.

Continue to follow R137 for 1.2 km and at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Templeogue Rd/R137 and the office is on the left.