Hitting Employers Where it Hurts: Gülay Bollacke v Kock

James Marson


This case note relates to the recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Court of Justice) in Gülay Bollacke v K + K Klaas & Kock B.V. & Co. KG  on the interpretation of the Working Time Directive (and national implementing measures and their interpretation) when the individual is unable to access the right to paid annual leave when ill, and who subsequently dies being owed this accrued leave. Ultimately, the individual (or perhaps more accurately his/her beneficiaries)  is entitled to receive payment for the leave untaken and national law, as exemplified in Germany in the case before the Court of Justice, must be interpreted accordingly. This case follows on from a series of judgments of the Court of Justice relating to the application of the Working Time Directive and demonstrates how the Court is steadily dismantling the barriers erected by Member States in preventing the complete and correct application of the law. Employers are also reminded of the requirement that they should follow the EU law where inconsistencies exist with national law or face the prospect of legal action, associated costs, and awards being issued against them.

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