EU court rules companies must give workers paid annual leave

The highest court of the European Union ruled on Wednesday that employers must grant employees paid annual leave in a case that could have an impact on workers in the "gig" economy.

The case involved a seller of The Sash Window Workshop Ltd., in Great Britain, employed from 1999 to 2012 under an independent work contract on commission only with unpaid annual leave.

The seller sued the company for the payment of leave, taken and unpaid as well as for days not taken.

A British court declared that he was a "worker" under EU law, but British judges asked the European Court of Justice if society was obliged to pay him for the leave that he had not really taken.

The EU court said it was fundamental that workers could rest and that such a right would not be guaranteed if the seller was forced to take a leave without pay before to be able to bring an action in claim.

Companies could limit the accumulation of paid vacations, workers losing their right to leave if they did not take vacations within a given time. However, a business should not be enriched by removing the right of a worker to paid leave.

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