In Case C-214/16 King v Sash Window Company ELCI:EU:C:2017:439, a reference from the Court of Appeal of England & Wales, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that EU law – in particular, the principle of effectiveness and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights – precludes a requirement that a worker must take leave before bringing proceedings to establish whether he has the right to be paid in respect of that leave. The Court further held that in circumstances where paid leave has been wrongly denied by an employer, the right to leave carries over to subsequent years and where the contract has been terminated before the right can be exercised, the worker is entitled to a financial allowance in lieu.
The ruling is of particular importance to ‘gig economy’ workers who have been assumed to be self-employed contractors but whose circumstances are subsequently found to give rise to an employer-worker relationship, such as in the landmark November 2017 ruling about the status of Uber drivers.
The Court’s judgment is available here.
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Charles Banner appeared for the United Kingdom, instructed by the Government Legal Department.