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Federal Labor Court: Vacation only becomes statute


Vacation for all eternity: Days off only expire if employees have been made aware of them beforehand. This was decided by the Federal Labor Court in Erfurt. The verdict could result in class action lawsuits.

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Vacation days with the family, you can now take them back for years (symbol image)

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A tax clerk from North Rhine-Westphalia had accumulated 101 vacation days over several years due to a high workload.

Your employer says they are expired and statute-barred.

On the other hand, the woman complained - and was now right before the Federal Labor Court (BAG) in Erfurt (file number: 9 AZR 266/20).

"The decision of the Federal Labor Court undoubtedly strengthens the rights of employees," said Hamburg labor lawyer Michael Fuhlrott to SPIEGEL.

Vacation days from ten or 15 years ago could be claimed again

According to the judgment of the BAG, vacation only becomes statute-barred if employers have previously informed their employees that they are entitled to vacation, which could expire.

If the employer does not notify you, claims from earlier years can also be asserted.

Employers can no longer invoke the three-year statute of limitations under national law or the expiry of vacation after 15 months.

The fact that holiday entitlements from five, ten or 15 years ago can now also be asserted could lead to class action lawsuits, which are extremely rare in labor law.

“It cannot be ruled out that, following the decision, employees will now claim their former employer for compensation for unused vacation from previous years.

However, the court press release does not say whether the same applies to this claim for compensation as to holiday claims, so it remains open,” says labor lawyer Fuhlrott.

more on the subject

  • Groundbreaking ECJ decision: Vacation days do not expire automatically after three years

  • ECJ judgment on remaining vacation days: »The employer must explicitly ask his employees to take vacation days« An interview by Verena Töpper

  • By rights - labor law briefly explained: The biggest mistakes about vacation by Florian Gontek

In their decision, the highest German labor judges deal with several aspects of vacation: In the case of the tax clerk with the long list of vacation days not taken, it was about the limitation period - in Germany it has been three years so far.

In another case - also from North Rhine-Westphalia - the judges ruled on the complaint of a hospital employee who was ill herself for a long time and was only able to take part of her vacation this year.

National holiday law is increasingly influenced by European law

“On the one hand, the judgment of the BAG is spectacular and can have significant effects.

On the other hand, it doesn't come as a surprise, because with its judgment it implements mandatory requirements of the European Court of Justice," says labor lawyer Fuhlrott.

The Federal Labor Court has already submitted the two cases from North Rhine-Westphalia to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg before its upcoming decision.

He should examine whether European law allows vacation entitlements to become statute-barred "if the employer has not actually put the employee in a position to exercise his vacation entitlement through appropriate requests and instructions".

The decision was clear: no, said the court in September.

According to the ECJ, leave cannot become statute-barred or expire in the event of a long illness if employers have not fulfilled their obligations.

In both cases, the BAG has now followed the Union case law.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-12-20

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Life/Entertain 2022-12-20T15:23:16.723Z

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