Wednesday, January 21, 2009

On Rights And Wrongs

Following on from my previous post on a UK Bill of Rights, a fine example has just landed in my inbox from Open Europe...

The Mail reports that the European Court of Justice has ruled that employees on long-term sick leave are still entitled to paid holiday. It means that staff can take their annual leave built up while off sick as soon as they return to work. In addition, any worker who is sacked or who leaves a firm while off ill must be financially compensated for the holidays not taken. EUobserver notes that the Court based its decision on a clause in the EU's Working Time Directive that states that employees have the "right to a minimum period of paid annual leave."

This is how a 'right' is stretched and interpreted, and leads to results not foreseen. In doing so it essentially steps in between a private contract decided between employer and employee. In other words in order to uphold that right, a freedom must necessarily be eroded.

Now it may or may not be a good thing, but that is a question for the government of the day to decide, not lawyers. If people want it then let a political party present it in their manifesto at an election, and let any future government have the ability to repeal it. This should not be a matter of legal interpretation.


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