Court Rules Holiday Time Can be reclaimed due to Illness

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on September 18, 2009

The European Court of Justice handed out a landmark ruling today which will allow employees to reclaim holiday time that they have lost to sickness.  This means that an employee would be able to claim additional holiday time if there were to happen to fall ill while on holiday.  This controversial ruling has many in the European Union wondering how this will affect businesses, especially small businesses, and whether or not employees will try to take advantage of the ruling by faking illness just to extend their holiday.

This ruling, which effectively will allow dishonest employees to take longer holidays, could have a negative effect on small businesses, especially during the busy summer months.  Small businesses already have to plan their employees’ leave very carefully or else they leave themselves open to staff shortages.  This ruling could make this much more difficult, especially if employees take advantage of it by lying about illness.  Small businesses could find themselves severely understaffed.

Others are worried that businesses will react to this ruling by shortening the allotted holidays for their employees in an attempt to offset the potential for dishonesty.  Some businesses are saying that this could not have come at a worse time, as they are already looking for ways to save money in the plummeting economy.

The ruling came as the result of a case in Spain, but will be binding throughout the European Union and United Kingdom.  Lawyers are predicting that the new law will open up a bevy of new problems for employers.

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