In Russell & Ors v Transocean International Resources Ltd & Ors the Court of Session has held that there is no rule that annual leave must come out of "working time", only that it cannot come out of "rest periods". Had the decision been any different there would have been major implications for education and other sectors where workers' annual leave is required to coincide with the period that they are not required to work.

In this case, offshore oil workers were appealing a decision from the Employment Appeal Tribunal in which it was ruled that Transocean was not in violation of the Working Time Regulations 1998 ("WTR") to require them to take their annual leave during their non-working time on shore. The oil workers had argued that they were being denied their entitlement to annual leave due to the fact it should be taken from the period they are required to work on the Oil Rig and not from the period when they were resting on shore. Thus, they proposed that their four weeks' annual leave should be deducted from the 26 weeks of the year that they are on the Rig and not from the 26 weeks they are on shore.

In deciding against the oil workers, the Court of Session referred to the fact that it had avoided "the absurd results" that any other decision would have meant for "teachers and annual shut-down trades". If the matter had been decided in favour of the oil workers, it would have followed that teachers would have been able to request that they take their annual leave during the school year and could not be required to take it during the school holidays.

If you would like to read the full judgment, click on this link: