News Updates

ECJ rules on holiday carry over

Monday 9th December 2019

The ECJ has confirmed in Terveys-ja sosiaalialan neuvottelujärjestö (TSN) ry v Hyvinvointialan liitto ry and anor case, that employers do not have to allow annual leave in excess of the four-week minimum entitlement provided for under the EU Working Time Directive to be carried over into the next annual leave year.

The Claimants were entitled under their respective collective bargaining agreements, to annual leave in excess of the EU’s four-week minimum. However, they had been unable to use all their annual leave due to illness occurring during a period of paid annual leave. They requested that they be allowed to carry over this leave into the next annual leave year. The request was approved in respect of the leave falling within the four-week EU Directive minimum entitlement. However, it was denied in respect of the annual leave exceeding the minimum period, as the collective bargaining agreements did not require that it be carried over.

The ECJ held that the EU Directive does not prevent individual Member States from granting the right to additional periods of annual leave. It lays down a minimum requirement and expressly allows Member States to introduce more favourable provisions. Any such additional rights are to be governed by the conditions set under national law. Employers are therefore free to allow or refuse additional annual leave entitlement to be carried over in the event of illness, provided these requirements comply with their national law.

The Claimants also sought to rely on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU which provides that every worker has the right to a period of paid annual leave. The ECJ found that this only applies for the purposes of the implementation of EU law and therefore not to annual leave in excess of the EU minimum.

All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.