The European Court of Justice has expanded on its insistence that all workers throughout the EU have a right to reclaim holiday time affected by illness.

The court ruling, made after an appeal by a Spanish trade union, is binding on all EU members, including Britain.

The Luxembourg-based court insisted that employers should honour workers’ rights to both time off sick and paid holidays.

“The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure,” the court said. “The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work.”
“保证带薪年假的权利是为了让员工可以享受一段放松休闲的时光,” 法院解释说。“而保证病假权利的目的则不同, 因为生病会让员工无法胜任工作,而病假可以确保他们得到康复。”

It would be “arbitrary and contrary to the purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave” to deny workers holiday time in exchange for time spent sick.

The judgment goes further than the court’s earlier rulings on sick leave. Previously, the court had said that people who were sick before their holiday started could take their leave at another time.

The judgment relates to the EU’s Working Time Directive. While the UK has an opt-out on parts of the directive relating to working hours, there is no exemption on sick pay and holiday. The Government has said it will apply the court’s rulings from October, although business groups have said that doing so will be harmful to the wider UK economy.

Norman Lamb, the employment relations minister, said the ruling boosted the case for changing EU rules on holiday rights.
就业关系部部长Norman Lamb称,这项裁定促使了欧盟对休假权利做出调整。

He said: “I do not believe that the directive had to be interpreted in this way which involves extra cost for business. Most employees accept that if they fall ill while on holiday, it is unfortunate but they do not expect extra holiday. This judgment reinforces the need for a reassessment of the scope of the Working Time Directive.” The Government’s own estimates suggest that adopting the rules will cost employers more than £100 million annually.
他说:“我不认为这项指导法意味着给企业带来更多的开支。大部分员工认为如果他们在假期里生病的确很倒霉,但他们也没有指望还能把这部分假期补回来。 这项裁定让我们有必要重新评估《工时指导法》的范围。” 而政府预算表明,如果按照新的规定执行,英国的雇主每年会多支出1亿英镑。

The Department for Business did not comment on Thursday night, but the Coalition has pledged to resist implementing the court’s judgments.

Earlier this year, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, described the court’s rulings as “an unnecessary burden on businesses” and “completely unjustifiable at a time of economic strain”.
今年早些时候,商务大臣Vince Cable称法院的这项裁定是“企业多余的负担”,而且“在经济不景气时期是完全不合理的”。

Some British employers, including the BBC, already give staff the right to reclaim holiday time if they fall sick. Business groups said the rulings underlined the need for ministers to resist the court.

The CBI said that British businesses “would like to see the judgments reversed, so that the directive is focused on the health and safety of the workforce, as originally intended”. The Federation of Small Businesses urged the Government to “avoid implementation of any ECJ ruling on annual leave and sick leave for as long as possible”.