annual leave

The judgment of the Court concerns a preliminary reference related to the interpretation of Article 7(1) of Directive 2003/88/EC concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time and Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. 

The case involves a dispute between an employee, TF, and his employer, Sparkasse Südpfalz, regarding the postponement of annual paid leave days granted to TF during a quarantine period due to contact with a person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Court first emphasized the importance of the right to annual paid leave as a fundamental principle of EU social law. It underscores that the purpose of annual leave is to allow the worker to rest and have leisure time. The Court rejects the notion that the right to annual leave should be interpreted restrictively.

In the specific case, TF had been granted annual leave overlapping with a quarantine period ordered by public authorities due to his contact with a COVID-19-infected person. The German courts, relying on domestic law, refused TF's request to postpone the annual leave. The Court opined that the purpose of quarantine, which aims to prevent the spread of a contagious disease, differs from that of annual leave. It stated that an event like quarantine does not inherently impede the realization of the purpose of annual leave.

The Court concludes that EU law does not oppose national regulations or practices that deny the postponement of annual paid leave granted to a non-sick worker for a period coinciding with a quarantine imposed by public authorities due to contact with a virus-infected person. The decision underscores that the employer is not obliged to compensate for disadvantages arising from unforeseeable events, such as quarantine, preventing the full enjoyment of annual leave, as long as the employer meets its obligations to ensure the worker's rest and leisure during the annual leave period. The ruling clarifies that the Directive does not require additional leave to be granted to compensate for any hindrance to the worker's full enjoyment of rest and leisure during annual leave.

Reference: case C‑206/22 - ECLI:EU:C:2023:984.

Full text of the decision available at fr
News available at en