The Court of Justice of the European Union recently reaffirmed that a worker’s annual leave entitlement, outstanding at the time of death, passes to his/her estate. The Court ruled that the spouse of an employee in Germany (who had accrued 140 days of annual leave due to a prolonged period of sick leave) was entitled to receive payment in lieu of her husband’s annual leave entitlement when he passed away. The Court stated that if a worker was no longer entitled to be paid for annual leave by reason of his death, this would lead to a total loss of the entitlement to paid annual leave, which is protected by the EU Working Time Directive.

Nuala Clayton