Posts Tagged ‘ECJ’

Sickness & Holidays–ECJ Clarity

Clock Flickr Dee'Lite SmallWe’ve written loads in the past about what holidays an employee is entitled to when they are off sick. Although there has been some cases – mainly in overseas courts or the Employment Tribunal – it’s all been a bit zig-zag in terms of making progress.

Worry no longer – we appear to have some clarity from our old friends the judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). They have ruled that if an employee is ill while on annual leave they have the right to reclaim additional paid leave of the same duration at a later date. This applies  regardless of when their ill-health commenced.

As the ECJ put it : "The purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure.

The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused him or her to be unfit for work.

“The point at which the temporary incapacity arose is irrelevant. Consequently, a worker is entitled to take paid annual leave which coincides with a period of sick leave at a later point in time, irrespective of the point at which the incapacity for work arose."

The ECJ ruling is binding across all members of the EU. The UK government has said that the ruling will apply in the UK from October 2012.

So there you go – we got there in the end!

A Gender for Change – why women must pay more!

Source Flickr/Looking Glass  We’ve written in the past about the fact that the EU has outlawed the sale of financial products       where the cost for the same cover differs between men and women. If you want a quick catch up you can click through to our previous post here.

The biggest issue for women of all ages is that the price of Life Assurance, Critical Illness and Income Protection Cover is likely to go up. The crucial date when everything must change is 21 December 2012.

However, things are beginning to happen already. One of the biggest providers in the market, Scottish Provident, recently announced it has repriced some of its life insurance products for women.

Scottish Provident has calculated that women will face an increase of up to 15% for life insurance as prices equalise and women start to pay the same price as men. This is likely to be the same story when looking at Critical Illness and Income Protection Cover.

Any women out there who are looking to put in place new or increased cover – perhaps as a result of having a baby or moving home – should act sooner rather than later to save themselves some money. In a few months time the same cover is likely to cost you more – for the rest of the time you have the policy. A £5 a month hike in the cost of your cover will cost you an extra £1,500 over the life of a 25 year policy. Surely, a £1,500 saving is worth acting on?

Of course looking protecting your family needs to be viewed as part of your overall financial roadmap. At 44 Financial Ltd we offer the Good Parent Review.  This looks at exactly the types of issues that parents with young children may need to wrestle with. It’ll not only look at family protection but also issues of parental responsibility and wealth preservation if a parent dies.

As a father of three young children I am acutely aware of the need for parents and carers to be adequately covered. If you’d like to book an initial consultation contact us by clicking here.

Steve Clark

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European Decision on Sick Leave & Holidays

Well just like London buses the cases on this are coming thick and fast! You can read our last blog posts on this here and here .

A German case was heard by the European Court of Justice on Tuesday this week regarding whether an employee who was off ill could carry forward holidays. This seems now to be the main issue that is unresolved.

Eversheds have produced a piece for their Education HR publication. Although it’s aimed at educational establishments the impact of the case affects all employers.

You can click through to the article here.

The position now seems to be that workers who are on sick leave have a choice: they can take annual leave if they want to, but if they don’t want to they can insist on postponing their annual leave and taking it at a later date. That can even mean taking it in a later holiday year if it’s not possible to take the leave before the current year ends.

I can’t help that thinking that this is one step forward and then two back. As always with this particular issue – watch this space!

Steve Clark

Sick leave is no holiday!


This issue of holiday entitlements and sick leave is a perennial favourite. It’s a classic case of playing catch up with fast moving (at least for Europe) changes in employment law. We seem to be unable to get any clarity in the UK legal system and progress is very much a zig zag rather than a straight line.

Those kind legal types at Wedlake Bell LLP have issued a useful article on a recent Tribunal case regarding the ability to “roll over” unused holiday entitlements when an employee is off sick. You can click through to the article here.

You’ll see it’s all still a bit of a muddle. Let caution be your watchword and take appropriate advice.

Steve Clark

A gender for change

You may remember that we wrote about the European legal case that was on the horizon that could have a massive impact on the pensions and financial services industry. Well today is the day and the European Court of Justice has published it’s decision. You can read the full press release here.

From December 2012 unisex rates must be used when looking at premiums and benefits. What does this mean?

Is it just Sheila’s Wheels?

Daily Telegraph Front Page Tu Foto con el PresidenteIf you have listened to the TV or radio or read the newspapers they are very much concentrating on the impact that same sex rates will have on car insurance rates. Here’s a good example from the BBC.

However, this judgement will go well beyond car insurance. It’s not just younger women drivers who will suffer the cost of the European unisex quest.

In fact the use of separate male and female rates stretches across the financial services industry.

Buying a Pension

One major impact will be in the rates that you can get when you come to use your pension pot to buy a pension at retirement. As women statistically live longer than men up until now for the same pot of money on the same basis at the same age a man will get more income. This was to reflect the fact that on average the man would be drawing his pension for less time.

From no later than December 2012 the rates will have to be the same. That’s going to create a bit of turmoil in the pension market over the next couple of years. It will also mean that those who are thinking about using their pension pot to buy a pension soon will need to get some advice regarding the timing of that decision.Pensioner on Bench debsbyrnephotos

From a pension scheme perspective the Financial Times have published an article commenting on the impact for company pension schemes that use annuities to provide income when a member retires.

One way or another if you are an employer with a pension scheme of any description you are going to have to sit down and look at the implications for your scheme. Even if you have a Stakeholder or Personal Pension Plan you may wish to alert members who may be considering taking benefits about this change.

Life Assurance, Income Protection & Critical Illness

These benefits – whether you take them out yourself or offer them through a company scheme – take into account gender differences. The different genders have statistically different claims histories and typical conditions. For life assurance for example it’s cheaper to insure a woman due to the longer life expectancy. In other words at nay age it’s less likely that a woman will die than a man of the same age if both are in good health.

We’re likely to see a change in the cost of these benefits as unisex rates start to be used. If you are looking at any personal cover it will be worth getting advice regarding whether it is wise to do this before December 2012  – particularly if you are a woman.

The Need for Advice

It’s clear that the impact of this judgement will be felt by far more than younger women drivers who may have to pay higher premiums. It will have a wide ranging impact for most individuals and their employers.

This will be a good test for how good your current adviser is. Firstly, to see how long they take to tell you about this and, secondly, how quickly they come up with a strategy for you!

Over time the financial services industry will work out how it intends to comply with the judgement. As we say all too often on this blog……watch this space!