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Dying for a holiday

16 Jun 2014

There has been much media coverage of the European Court decision that the estate of an employee who died during employment can claim the holiday pay they had accrued. It feels counter-intuitive, until you remember that under the Working Time legislation holiday has a dual value: the right to take paid time off, and the right to a payment on termination of employment if you haven’t taken your full entitlement.

In fact, in England, most employment claims can already be brought by the legal representatives of a deceased employee, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, unlawful deduction from wages and breach of contract.

Last year, the legal representatives of an employee who died a few days after being dismissed by British Airways successfully sued the airline for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination, in the process of recovering compensation for the value of the life insurance benefit he would have received if he had died before being dismissed.

So, in the rare cases where an employee dies during service, valuable entitlements may survive to be claimed by their estate (if it can afford the Tribunal fees of course).

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