Do the self-employed have a right to paid holiday? The EU court decides

There is a huge difference between a self-employed person who enters this status of his own free will and a self-employed person who has been forced to do so.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Reuters)

Conley King worked for a British company which makes and sells windows for more than 13 years. He was not a regular employee but worked for the firm based on “a self-employed contract and was paid on a commissions basis”. This is a similar institution to that of the Slovak self-employed license.

If King wanted to have a holiday he could but the company did not pay him any compensation for the days off. When he was retiring after 13 years, he asked the firm to pay him compensation both for the holidays he took, and those he did not take but was entitled to.

The window-making company refused, and a court case was established which could have ramifications for Slovakia as well.

Forced self-employment

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed the earlier opinion of their British colleagues that although King was self-employed, in reality he was a “worker”, according to European law, i.e. a “dependent” self-employed person and thus has the right to have holidays compensated.

This verdict has also had an impact on the so-called “falsely self-employed” in Slovakia. These are employees whose employer forces them to work on a self-employed license, or they decide to do so themselves, to save money on taxes and levies.

Employing the falsely self-employed is popular in Slovakia, and it brings mostly financial advantages to both the company and the worker. While the employer saves on the costs of health and social insurance, the self-employed person can charge a higher sum on their invoice. Thus, their net income is increased which, for example, helps them get services such as loans. At the same time, they are not required to pay some social levies.

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