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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Back issues
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EU Labor Laws to Give Briton a Happy Holiday

(CN) - Under European labor protections, a British gas consultant deserves the projected commissions he would have earned on top of the base pay he collected for his past Christmas vacation, an adviser to the EU's high court said Thursday.

Advocate General Yves Bot, a French magistrate for the European Court of Justice, affirmed that principle in supporting the claim of a consultant for British Gas Trading who is identified only by the abbreviated Z.J.R. Lock in court documents.

Lock has fought nearly two years to collect the commissions that he typically would have earned between Dec. 19, 2011, and Jan. 3, 2012, had he not taken a holiday vacation guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

When he filed a claim to the United Kingdom's Employment Tribunal in Leicester, that tribunal punted a series of questions to Bot's office to help resolve the issue.

Bot opined Thursday that not including commissions into Lock's leave went against the spirit of the European Union's protections.

"It is established that the purpose of the entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure," according to the English translation of Bot's 12-page opinion.

Just as Lock relies upon his commission as a part of his pay, European airline pilots earn additional income based on time spent flying routinely factored into their annual leave, Bot argued.

"The commission in question is directly linked to the work normally carried out by Mr. Lock under his contract of employment," his opinion states.

Though the commission "may fluctuate from month to month," Bot wrote that it is "none the less permanent enough for it to be regarded as forming part of that worker's normal compensation."

Lock's commissions accounted for more than 60 percent of his total salary, he added.

Bot declined to mandate how British Gas calculate that commission.

"Whatever the specific procedure adopted, I shall merely say that to take into account the average amount of commission received by the worker over a representative period, 12 months for example, would appear to me to be an appropriate solution," the opinion states.

British Gas did not immediately return an email request for comment after business hours.

Bot's opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice, which now begins deliberating the case.

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