Vacation leave employee death

Rulings of the European Court of Justice have an impact of how the law is interpreted in England as well as in all the other Member States, hence the simple fact is that we cannot ignore what goes on in Europe and we must keep ourselves updated.

We have seen that in recent years the ECJ has made some ground-breakings rulings on the topical issue of holiday entitlement. In July the ECJ dealt with another oddity of the Working Time Directive – in England this Directive has been transposed to the Working Time Regulations (1998). This time the question which was answered by the ECJ is to this effect: “what happens when an employee dies, that is what happens to his holiday entitlement?”

A court in Germany decided that once the employee died, his entitlement to payment for accrued but untaken holiday stops once the death occurs. This case was lodged by the widow of a worker who worked at a supermarket. Her husband had 141 days’ holiday accrued and his employer decided not to pay for this despite the fact that he was still an employee when he passed away.
The German court decided that the supermarket acted within its rights and in view of this the widow took her case to the ECJ. The ECJ held that the death of a worker does not bring their contractual and statutory rights to an end, hence any payment made on the death of a worker should take account of an sum for unpaid holiday pay.

This is not the first and most likely not the last ECJ ruling on the never ending saga topic of holidays. And we take the opportunity to remind you of the case of Lock v. British Gas which case has led to having holiday calculations including an amount for commission.

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