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Abstract

The right to paid annual leave is a particularly important principle of EU social law that is regulated by the provisions of Article 7 of the Working Time Directive (WTD), where it enjoys a privileged status as the only non-derogable right. Significantly, Article 7 of the WTD Directive has been interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as a directly effective provision. In Croatian law, this right has been implemented by means of the Labour Act. In this article, we examine three aspects of national regulations regarding paid annual leave against which might raise doubts as to the proper implementation of Article 7 WTD. First, we look at the regulation on minimum periods of employment as a precondition for the entitlement to paid annual leave. Here, we shall argue that the national regulation is not consistent with EU law, as it triggers the accrual of the right to paid annual leave only after half a month of employment. After that, we examine the regulation on the overlap between paid annual leave and other types of leave. We shall claim that national rules regulating overlaps between paid annual leave and maternity, parental, adoption, sick and other paid leave are not in violation of EU law. However, in the case of the overlap between paid leave and unpaid leave stemming from the Maternity and Parental Benefits Act, we raise certain doubts as to the adequacy of national regulations. Our last point of interest is the regulation concerning the carrying-over of untaken paid annual leave into the following calendar year, where we argue that national provisions on the carry-over period are not consistent with Article 7 WTD.