Dhe European Court of Justice (ECJ) has strengthened the holiday entitlement of employees. In three cases from Germany, the court ruled that the claim to Vacation not expire in certain cases, as the judges announced on Thursday.
In one of the cases, the plaintiff, an accountant, demanded financial compensation for the vacation days after her dismissal, which she said she had not taken because of years of heavy workload. Her employer argued that the claim was statute-barred due to the usual civil law statute of limitations of three years.
According to the ECJ, however, the employer must ensure that the employee can actually take his holiday entitlement. The employer must therefore ask the employee to take vacation and point out that the days could otherwise expire. If he fails to do so, he has placed himself in the situation of being faced with requests for monetary compensation for claims that have arisen long before. Whether this was the case with the accountant must now be determined Federal Labor Court examine, announced the ECJ.
Federal Labor Court decides in December
The two other cases revolved around holiday entitlement in the event of illness. The plaintiffs, a former hospital worker and a former freight driver, contended that they were entitled to paid leave for the year they were incapacitated or unable to work due to ill health. According to German law, sick leave entitlement usually lapses after 15 months.
The ECJ judges have now announced that holiday entitlements do not expire if they arose before the disability and the employer did not prompt the employee to do so or made it possible to take holiday.
An EU state can therefore decide that the holiday entitlement for employees who have been unable to work for several years expires after a transfer period of 15 months. In these two cases, however, it would be about the years in which the plaintiffs first became unable to work. So there was no risk that holiday entitlements would be accumulated indefinitely, he explained ECJ.
The Federal Labor Court in Erfurt, which submitted the lawsuit to the ECJ, has already announced that it intends to decide on the cases in December. It is bound by the legal interpretation of the ECJ.