In case C-12/17 ('Dicu'), the Court of Justice of the European Union was asked to decide whether the Working Time Directive (Directive 2003/88/EC) precludes a provision in national law which, for the purposes of determining a worker's entitlement to paid annual leave, does not regard the amount of time spent by the worker on parental leave.
The main question was therefore whether a period of parental leave had to be treated as a period of actual work to determine the paid annual leave entitlement. The Court stated that the purpose of annual leave is to enable the worker to rest from carrying out the work he is required to do and enjoy a period of relaxation. That purpose presupposes that the worker has been engaged in activities which justify he is given a period of rest. For this reason, entitlement to paid leave must be determined by reference to periods of actual work. This has its exceptions, specifically in the case of sick leave and maternity leave, during which periods workers are unable to fulfil their duties owing to physical restraints and biological conditions. The court concluded that a period of parental leave cannot be treated as a period of actual work for the purposes of determining the worker's entitlement to paid annual leave.
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