Thursday, October 29, 2009

Workers to claim back holiday time lost to illness, will expose employers to exploitation.

Employed by Madrid City Council, Francisco Pereda launched a legal action after being refused the right to alter his holiday plans because of an injury suffered just before he was due to take annual leave. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that he should have been allowed to alter his holiday dates, including the option to postpone his holiday and take it in the next holiday year.

The case did not involve someone taken ill during their holiday and the demanding compensatory sick leave. The court ruling made clear that if a "worker does not wish to take annual leave during a period of sick leave, annual leave must be granted to him for a different period".

The House of Lords in the UK reached a similar conclusion three months ago. The case brought by UK Customs staff, declared that workers could, in certain circumstances, build up holiday entitlement while on long-term sick leave. The EU ruling does not stipulate any time at which an illness could trigger the right to alter holidays, but lawyers examining the EU ruling say the result could be interpreted as giving workers the right to claim extra holiday time even if they have been taken ill after their holiday has begun.

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