ECJ Rule on Holiday When Workers Change Their Hours During The Holiday Year

Original Author: Assent Risk Management
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On the 11 November 2015, the European Court of Justice passed down its judgement on holiday when workers change their hours during the holiday year. They did this in Greenfield v The Care Bureau Limited. This case considers how holiday and its pay should be calculated where workers have increased their working hours during the holiday year.


The Court of Justice have stated that, in the event of an increase of number of hours work performed by a worker, Member States do not have to provide the entitlement to paid annual leave already amassed, and perhaps taken, must be recalculated retroactively according to the worker’s new work pattern. Nevertheless a new calculation must be performed for the period during which working time increased.


A change, in particular a reduction in working hours (when moving from Full-Time to Part-Time Employment) cannot reduce the right to annual leave that the worker has amassed during the time of Full-Time Employment.

This follows that, in regards to built-up entitlement to be paid annual leave, it is necessary to differentiate periods in which the worker has worked in accordance with different work patterns, the number of units of annual leave accumulated in relation to the number of units worked to be calculated for each period separately.


This conclusion should be drawn where the leave has not been taken during the time in which it amassed, where the worker worked Part-Time, but during a later period he/she has worked Full-Time.


When the worker accumulates rights to paid annual leave through a period of Part-Time work, rises the number of hours worked and moves to Full-Time work, the number of units of annual leave collected in relation to the number of hours worked, must be calculated separately for each period.



If in a situation, for instance, that at issue during the main proceedings, EU law consequently has need of a new calculation of rights to paid annual leave to be performed only for the period of work in which the worker had increased the number of hours they work.

The parts of paid annual leave already taken during the period of part-time work, which surpassed the right to paid annual leave gathered during that period must be removed from parts gathered during the period of work, which the worker enlarged the number of hours worked.


The European Court of Justice then went on to reflect how holiday pay must be calculated where the employment relationship is terminated.


Workers have to receive their normal wage for annual leave. In regards to a worker who hasn’t been able, for reasons out of his/her control, to exercise his right to paid annual leave in advance of termination of the employment relationship, the allowance in lieu to which he is entitled must be calculated so that the worker is put in a position comparable to that he would have been in had he exercised that right during his employment relationship.

This follows that the worker’s normal payment is also decisive as regards the calculation of the pay instead of annual leave not taken when employment terminates. Consequently, the calculation of the pay in the place of untaken annual leave must be carried out according to the same method as that used for the calculation of normal payment. This means that if working hours have changed during the holiday year, different calculations may need to be performed for different periods.