Key facts of the case
Request for a preliminary ruling from the Oberverwaltungsgericht Berlin-Brandenburg.
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Social policy — Organisation of working time — Directive 2003/88/EC — Article 7 — Right to paid annual leave — National legislation providing for the loss of annual leave not taken and of the payment in lieu thereof, where the worker did not submit a request for leave before the termination of the employment relationship.
Outcome of the case
On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 7 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 precluding national legislation such as that at issue in the main proceedings, in so far as it entails that, in the event that the worker did not ask to exercise his right to paid annual leave prior to the termination of the employment relationship, that worker loses — automatically and without prior verification of whether the employer had in fact enabled him, in particular through the provision of sufficient information, to exercise his right to leave prior to the termination of that relationship — the days of paid annual leave to which he was entitled under EU law on the date of the termination of that relationship, and, accordingly, his right to an allowance in lieu of paid annual leave not taken.
29) Moreover, the right to paid annual leave, as a principle of EU social law, is not only particularly important, but is also expressly laid down in Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which Article 6(1) TEU recognises as having the same legal value as the Treaties (judgment of 30 June 2016, Sobczyszyn, C‑178/15, EU:C:2016:502, paragraph 20 and the case-law cited).