ANGED v FASGA & Ors Case C-78/11

Judgment arising from a reference for a preliminary ruling concerning sick leave when the illness coincides with holiday leave. The Chamber ruled that the Directive must be interpreted as precluding any national provisions that mean that the worker is not entitled to that paid holiday leave where that coincides with a period of unfitness to work.

The reference for a ruling arose from  collective negotiations by Spanish unions for shop workers. The national association's (ANGED) position was that

'workers affected by a temporary incapacity for work before starting a pre-arranged period of leave, or who are thus affected during that period of leave, are not entitled to take leave at a later date, after the period during which they were unfit for work has ended, except in situations expressly provided for in the collective agreement'.

This failed at the National High Court and on appeal the judge referred the following questions to the ECJ

'Does Article 7(1) of Directive 2003/88 … preclude an interpretation of national legislation which does not permit interruption of a period of leave so that the full period – or the remaining period – can be taken at a later time if a worker is temporarily incapacitated when he is on leave?'

In the judgment the court notes that:

* under settled case law there can be no derogations from the important principle of entitlement to annual paid leave and is one that is expressly laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU following Zentralbetriebsrat der Landeskrankenhäuser Tirols* [2010] ECR I?3527 the right cannot be interpreted restrictively * it is common ground that the purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable a worker to rest and to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure and this differs from sick leave as that is given to the worker to allow them to recover from an illness that has caused them to be unfit for work the Court as already held that 'it follows in particular from the purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave that a worker who is on sick leave during a period of previously scheduled annual leave has the right, at his request and in order that he may actually use his annual leave, to take that leave during a period which does not coincide with the period of sick leave' (see Vicente Pereda* [2009] ECR I?8405)

Accordingly the Court ruled that the point at which the temporary incapacity arose is irrelevant and so a worker is entitled to to take paid annual leave which coincides with a period of sick leave at a later date irrespective of the point at which incapacity arose.

The full judgment is available on the Europa website.

Published: 25/06/2012 08:57

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