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EU Court Says Employees' 'Enshrined' Right of Paid Vacation Not Lost by Sickness

In Europe, four to six weeks of paid vacation time for employees is an entitlement that employees and the courts hold sacred and is, according to the Court of Justice of the European Union, a "particularly important principle of EU social law."

Last week, the Court of Justice further protected this entitlement when it held that "a worker who becomes unfit for work during his paid annual leave is entitled at a later point in time to a period of leave of the same duration as that of his sick leave." In other words, if you are on vacation and you get sick, you can use sick days during the vacation and use those vacation days later.

The case in question -- Asociacion Nacional de Grandes Empresas de Distribucion (ANGED) v Federacion de Asociaciones Sindicales (FASGA) and Others -- arose out of Spain, when ANGED (translated: the National Association of Large Distribution Businesses) argued that workers who were affected by temporary incapacity for work during a period of leave were not entitled to take leave at a later date.

Spain's Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court) asked the Court of Justice whether the EU's Working Time Directive precluded certain Spanish legislation under which a worker who becomes unfit for work during a period of paid annual leave is not entitled subsequently to that annual leave. The Court of Justice held that the entitlement to paid annual leave is "enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights" and cannot be interpreted restrictively. The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave "is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure," The Court of Justice stated. "The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work."

The Court of Justice's ruling applies to the 27 countries in the European Union.

Posted by Bruce Carton on June 25, 2012 at 04:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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