September 14th, 2023 – Employees now acquire paid leave during their periods of absence from work, wether these periods are due to illness or accident
The Cour of Cassation recently reversed its position on paid leave in the event of illness in two rulings handed down on 13 September 2023.
In the first case (rulings 22-17.340; 22-17.341; 22-17.342), the Court of Cassation ruled that employees who had contracted a non-occupational illness could acquire paid leave entitlements during their period of absence, even though the illness could not be attributed to work. In doing so, it relied on Article 31§2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to partially overrule the provisions of Article L3141-3 of the French Labour Code.
Henceforth, employees suffering from an illness or who have been the victim of an accident, whether occupational or not, are entitled to claim paid leave entitlement for the period during which they were unable to work.
In the second case (ruling 22-17.638), an employee who had suffered an accident at work claimed compensation for paid holiday for his entire period of absence, which exceeded one year. The Paris Court of Appeal rejected his claim, holding that under French law, only the first year of absence could give rise to paid leave entitlement. Relying on Article 31§2 of the Charter aforementioned, the Cour de Cassation ruled that the provisions of Article L3141-5 of the Labour Code were partially incompatible with European law and quashed the Appeal Court’s ruling.
From now on, the acquisition of paid leave by employees suffering from an accident at work or an occupational disease cannot be limited to the first year of absence from work.
In these rulings, the Cour of Cassation reviewed the compliance of French law with European law, which led it to set aside the provisions of French law. These decisions come after France was condemned by a ruling of the Versailles Administrative Court of Appeal on July17, 2023, on the grounds that the provisions of the Labour Code infringed European law. In addition, the Court of Justice of the European Union had long before ruled in favor of the acquisition of paid leave during periods of sickness (CJEU, Schultz-Hoff, 20 January 2009, C-350/06, point 41).
Marine Segura, associate