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/ 21 Sep 2011

UP AND AWAY – Recent European Court Decisions on Employment Law

There have been two recent European Court of Justice judgements relating to the employment of airline pilots. Although the facts were very specific to our friends at the front of the plane some of the principles would apply to those of us sitting back in cattle class.
The first case is Williams & others-v- British Airways. This was a referral to the ECJ by our own Supreme Court. The question put to the ECJ was whether holiday pay could include other allowances on top of the basic pay. The ECJ decided that allowances that were paid for any “inconvenient aspect” of the job should be included in holiday pay. The example given was for flying allowances paid to pilots which should be included, whereas allowances for time spent away from home may not be allowed.
The principle that exercised the ECJ was that there should be no deterrence to people taking holiday and that holiday pay should be very much akin to pay received whilst at work. This judgment may therefore be applicable to other employments where allowances are paid.
The second case again regarding pilots is Prigge and others –v- Deutsche Lufthansa AG. The ECJ held that a German rule prohibiting commercial pilots flying after the age of 60 was counter to the Equal Treatment Directive. Reasonably the Court held that air traffic safety was a legitimate objective but they were not convinced that a blanket ban on pilots over the age of 60 was proportionate especially as there are international rules allowing commercial pilots to work until the age of 65.
Again this has general relevance as once again the Court has decided that age limits should be proportionate to their objectives. Also this judgement may give hope to some others who fancy a second career navigating between the clouds before we end up playing the harp on one of them.
For any queries, advice or representation on Employment Law issues please contact one of our Employment Law Solicitors here at Hanne & Co on 020 7228 0017 or email info@hanne.co.uk

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