Baptiste Morin / Photo credit: VALERIE DUBOIS / HANS LUCAS / HANS LUCAS VIA AFP 06:12, September 18, 2023

This is a legal decision that could change labour law. The Court of Cassation ruled that an employee on sick leave could acquire rights to paid leave regardless of the reason for the stoppage. The Court gives precedence to European law over the French Labour Code. A decision that should have significant consequences for companies.

Until now, an employee on leave for an illness unrelated to his activity could not accumulate paid leave during his absence. But French law has never been brought into line with European law according to which any judgment gives the right to paid leave whether it is explained by a professional condition or not. The Court of Cassation has therefore assumed its responsibilities where the French legislator has never done so.

This decision could represent a significant change for businesses. "It's a financial tidal wave because it will require to count paid leave in all configurations," said Caroline André-Hesse, a partner in labor law at Ayache. "We often have extremely long absences and for them it represents five weeks of pay per year of work stoppage," she adds.

Possibility to go back three years

Employees can now request that their situation be brought into conformity on the basis of the decision of the Court of Cassation. And they can even do it for past stops. "We have a three-year prescription. We can very well consider that the deadline begins to run only today and therefore we could return at least to the last three years, "explains Caroline André-Hesse.

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It is difficult to estimate the exact number of people concerned. Medicare does not differentiate between stoppages according to reasons. Contacted by Europe 1, she was unable to provide an estimate.