A worker can not automatically lose his right to paid annual holidays for not having applied for them, unless the employer shows that he knew about his right and could exercise it and still he did not, according to a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In the latter case, if the worker "deliberately" abstained from taking vacations, the European norms do not preclude him from losing his right to them or to the economic compensation that would have corresponded to him if his contract has ended, the court said in a statement. release.
The court ruled on the cases of two German citizens. The first made an internship period during which he did not take paid vacations and at the end he requested financial compensation for days not enjoyed, which was denied by the employer.
The second was invited by his employer to take vacations two months before the end of his contract, without forcing him to take them on fixed dates, but the worker only enjoyed two days of vacation and requested financial compensation for the rest that was denied by the company.
Both appealed to the German courts that brought the matter before the CJEU.
In its judgment, the CJEU defends that not enjoying paid holidays does not automatically entail their loss or that of economic compensation in case of termination of the contract.
And it states that the worker can only lose these rights if the employer has effectively allowed, in particular by informing him properly, to take vacation days in useful time, an end that the employer must prove. He adds that this applies regardless of whether he is a public employer or a private employer.
Compensation to the heirs
In another judgment, the Court of Justice ruled that the heirs of a deceased worker can claim compensation from the former employer for the paid annual leave not enjoyed by that employee.
As indicated by the court, the right of the deceased worker to financial compensation for vacations not enjoyed is transmissible "mortis causa" to his heirs.