In its ruling № 247 from 25.02.2020 on civil case № 3200/2018, the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) brings clarity to questions regarding the form required for a unilateral increase of labor remuneration and the usage of paid annual leave. Both issues are outlined and addressed in the context of an appeal of a lower court’s ruling regarding a labor issue.
Paid annual leave
In regards to the part of the question about paid annual leave, the SCC outlines a few key moments. Firstly, the court emphasizes the explicit wording of the Labor Code (LC), in accordance with which the use of paid annual leave requires a permit from the employer, which itself must be done in writing. The lack of written form would, respectively, constitute a violation of labor law. The SCC’s previous rulings confirm the latter and expand on that, adding that work absence as a result of such a violation constitutes grounds for disciplinary liability.
In cases where paid annual leave is used with the lack of a permit from the employer, unlawful usage of the paid annual leave can be claimed by the employer. In regards to receiving labor remuneration for paid annual leave, as if a lawful permit from the employer had been issued (even though there is a lack thereof), the SCC outlines two specifics:
- This remuneration does not replace the need of a written permit from the employer
- Such remuneration has evidential validity in the context of claims for compensation for unused paid leave, more precisely when it comes to proving that during the time of work absence the worker or employee was using their paid leave. The burden of proof here lies with the employer.
Unilateral increase of labor remuneration
Here, the SCC underlines an exception from the general rule of labor contracts, particularly regarding collective agreement and form, ruling that an increase of labor remuneration of an employee can be done unilaterally from the employer without the requirement of written form.
The conditions are that the will of the employer be expressed clearly and unequivocally. For its interpretation, the general rules of the Obligations and Contracts Act apply. Proof of expression of said will can be an order from the employer, entries in the work book, payrolls or other certification services regarding labor remuneration. After the will of the employer reaches the respective employee or after its certification from the employer, it becomes unretractable. The above outlined does not apply for decreases in labor remuneration.