The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that European Union (EU) staff
on maternity leave must not lose annual holiday entitlements – even when leave
is fixed for certain dates by collective agreement.
Merino G¢mez worked for Spain’s Continental Industrias when she took
maternity leave from May to August 2001. However, this coincided with a
collectively agreed annual leave period. When she returned to work and applied
for the holiday she had missed, the company refused.
Her case was referred to the ECJ, which ruled she was wrongfully denied time
off, because the directive protecting pregnant staff safeguards employment
contract rights during maternity leave – "including the right to paid