Holiday Pay – Heir’s rights to compensation for deceased worker’s outstanding annual leave
Does the heir of a deceased worker have a right to financial compensation in lieu of the worker’s outstanding paid annual leave?
The deceased worker’s right to an allowance in lieu of leave which is not taken, may be passed on by inheritance to his heirs held the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), in Wuppertal v Bauer and Willmeroth Broßonn.
The late husbands of Mrs Bauer and Mrs Broßonn had not taken all their paid annual leave prior to their death and as the sole heirs, Mrs Bauer and Mrs Broßonn asked their spouses’ former employers for an allowance in lieu of that leave. The city of Wuppertal and Mr Willmeroth refused this request.
The Court already ruled in 2014 that a worker’s right to paid annual leave does not lapse upon his death. However, on 6 November 2018, the CJEU confirmed that under EU law a worker’s right to paid annual leave does not lapse upon his death. In addition, it states that the heirs of a deceased worker may claim an allowance in lieu of the paid annual leave not taken by the worker.
The CJEU held that in the event that national law precludes that possibility and is therefore incompatible with EU law, the heirs may directly rely on EU law, both against a public and a private employer.