There have been a number of cases about holiday pay in recent years but another point has now been discussed by the European Court of Justice.

Employers currently have the power to inform staff that any unused holidays will be lost at the end of the holiday year and cannot be carried over unless the employee is prevented from taking the time due to illness or maternity leave.

However, a recent case has now confirmed that employees should also not lose their holiday entitlement if the employer has failed to actively encourage them to take the leave and make it clear that annual leave should be used up.

I can see this is intended to protect those employees who may just work and work and forget to stop and take time off. Clearly the employer won’t say, ‘Stop and take a holiday’ if the person is a good worker, making a valuable contribution and, of course, the employer won’t need to pay for any holiday lost at the end of the year.

One issue I do see, however, is where an employer is encouraging an employee to take leave but the member of staff genuinely doesn’t want to take time off. What more is an employer supposed to do?

There will be a need for balance between encouragement and badgering of staff to avoid employers risking alienating employees or driving them away.

On a positive note, this case does shine a light on holidays once more, giving staff the facts that they need to challenge employers who may remain unaware that unused holidays due to sickness and maternity leave can be carried over regardless of the employers view or policy. Hopefully it will help employees to avoid losing holidays that they are entitled to.