Annual Leave Year Claims
There are constant issues arising in relation to claims being made and also defences being raised in relation to annual leave.
The claim is usually that the employee did not receive their annual leave in the company leave year which is usually the calendar year. Equally the defence is regularly trotted out that the employee received their leave in accordance with the company leave year where that would be the calendar year.
Under the Organisation of Working Time Act the leave year for bringing a claim is the period from 1 April in one year to 31st March in the subsequent year. There is no other leave year.
This issue was held by the Labour Court in the case of Waterford City Council –v- O Donoghue, DWT0963 where the Court stated;
“The only leave year which is cognisable for the purposes of determining if an employee received his or her statutory entitlement is that prescribed by the Act itself. That is to say a year starting on 1 April and ending on 31 March the following year. When different arrangements may be put in place for administrative purposes, in determining if a contravention of the Act occurred, the Court can only have regard to the leave allocated to an employee in the statutory period”.
The UK Legislation is more beneficial.
The UK Legislation has a Statutory Leave Year. However, it has the added protection for both employees and employers equally that the Statutory Leave Year is the default Leave Year unless a different leave year is set out in a contract of employment.
It is unfortunate that the Irish Legislation does not provide for this as it constantly creates problems when issues are raised relating to annual leave.
*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.
**In contentious cases, a solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a portion or percentage of any award of settlement.