Friday

23rd Jun 2017

Sick leave is no holiday, rules EU court

  • Workers will be happy at the ruling, but bosses say it comes at the wrong time (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that taking time off work due to illness is not a holiday.

European employees off work for extended sick leave must receive all the holiday time they have accumulated in that period, the 27-state bloc's top court has found.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In a judgement released on Tuesday (20 January), the ECJ settled a long-running battle over whether workers kept or lost their holiday rights while away from the job because they were sick.

"A worker does not lose his right to paid annual leave that he has been unable to exercise because of sickness. He must be compensated for his annual leave not taken," the court ruling reads.

If the employee is let go or quits, holiday pay in lieu of the time off must be paid out instead.

The court based its decision on a clause in the 1993 EU Working Time Directive that states that employees have the "right to a minimum period of paid annual leave."

A worker at the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, a German insurance body, and five employees at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in Britain brought the case before the ECJ.

While workers will be celebrating the decision, bosses were quick to denounce the finding.

David Frost, the director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce said the ruling was illogical coming amidst the current economic crisis.

"I fail to see the logic behind this decision. With UK businesses facing the most serious economic downturn for at least a generation, this ruling will hit firms hard and at the worst possible time," he said.

"Companies will either be left with the burdensome task of reallocating resources while the accrued holiday is being taken, or they will face a large one-off expense, which will undoubtedly damage their cash-flow."

Border management going virtual

EU leaders at a summit in Brussels are set to endorse new border control measures, while the head of a Tallinn-based EU agency predicts a future where border management goes virtual.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

Opinion

Why Schengen deserves to be saved

Far-right parties around Europe have managed to turn the passport-free Schengen area into a game of political hot potato despite its numerous benefits.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal
  2. US issues warrant for VW managers, German media say
  3. EU extends sanctions against Russia
  4. Merkel denies Franco-German deal on EU agencies
  5. Dutch PM: Turkey is upholding migration deal
  6. Britain to outline rights of UK-based EU citizens
  7. Tusk can 'imagine' the UK still remaining in EU
  8. Norway offers more blocks for Arctic oil exploration

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  2. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  3. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  4. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  5. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  6. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  7. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  8. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  11. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  12. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June

Latest News

  1. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  2. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  3. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit
  4. EU pressures firms to tackle online terrorism
  5. Lack of eligible candidates dogs EU relocation scheme
  6. Border management going virtual
  7. Tusk hints UK could stay in EU, if it wanted
  8. Merkel, Orban and the not quite closed Balkan route