Key facts of the case
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Curtea de Apel Cluj.
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Social policy — Organisation of working time — Directive 2003/88/EC — Right to paid annual leave — Directive 2010/18/EU — Revised Framework Agreement on parental leave — Parental leave not regarded as a period of actual work.
Outcome of the case
In the light of all the foregoing considerations, I propose that the Court answer the question referred for a preliminary ruling by the Curtea de Apel Cluj (Court of Appeal, Cluj, Romania) as follows: Article 7(1) of Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which excludes from the calculation of the length of a worker’s paid annual leave the period during which that worker was on parental leave to take care of a young child, by not treating that period as a period of actual work.
15) The special position that the right to paid annual leave occupies in EU law is confirmed both by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ( 12 ) (‘the Charter’), which, in Article 31, conferred on it the status of a fundamental right, ( 13 ) and by the Court’s case-law.
23) Like the right to paid annual leave, the right to parental leave is laid down in Article 33(2) of the Charter. The Court has distinguished the latter from maternity leave as it is granted to parents to enable them to take care of their child. ( 30 ) Thus it is no longer simply a matter, in the context of parental leave, of protecting the biological condition of the woman referred to in this Opinion, but of helping parents who work to reconcile their occupational and parental responsibilities ( 31 ) by enabling them to interrupt their work whilst giving them the assurance that they will be entitled to return to the same or similar job. ( 32 )