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No reduction of holiday entitlement when switching from full to part-time

The Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) has strengthened the holiday entitlement of part-time workers in a judgment of February 10, 2015 (10 AZR 453/13). The judges decided that the proportionate reduction of vacation days when switching from a full-time job to a part-time job is unlawful.

 The dispute concerned a public service employee of the State of Hesse who was entitled to 27 days holiday. In July 2010 he went part-time and switched from working five days a week to four days a week. During his full-time job he had not taken any holiday. In 2010 his employer granted him only 24 days of holiday. The plaintiff claimed, however, that reduction of his holiday entitlement was not permissible for January to June 2010 and demanded 27 days holiday.

 Following a decision of the European Court of Justice (Europäischer Gerichtshof -ECJ) from 2013 the Federal Labour Court has now changed the case law. Previously it was common for a full-time employee to have a reduced holiday entitlement on a pro rata basis in the year in which the employee went part-time. The ECJ considered this reduction to be discriminatory against part-time employees.

 Therefore, employers should be aware that the amount of (accumulated) vacation days is not reduced when full-time employees reduce their working time.