Court Ruling Gives Europeans Option to Re-Take Vacations If They Get Sick

Europe's highest court ruled workers who get sick on vacation get a do-over.

It happens to everyone at least once—you plan the perfect, relaxing vacation, but when the time finally comes you spend the week with a terrible cold or a nasty stomach flu. And you finally feel better just in time to go back to work. Well, if you lived in Europe, you would now be entitled to a vacation do–over.

This new ruling, which stems from a suit brought by a group of department store employees in Spain, applies to workers in all 27 European Union countries. It allows workers who happen to get sick while taking vacation time to basically change that time off to sick leave and recoup the vacation days. Remember, the typical European gets four to six weeks of vacation, a perk that has long been the envy of Americans (who get an average of 14 days of paid vacation, and are less likely to actually use it).

As reported in the New York Times, the Court Justice of the European Union said, “The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure. The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work.” Exactly.

What do you think of this new ruling? Have you ever wished you could get your vacation back?


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