In our practice, we are confronted with a question about taking leave on a public holiday.
So what if an employee has been scheduled to work a shift on a public holiday and should take leave on that day?
In our experience, we are often faced with the question of how leave should be taken when an employee has been scheduled to work a shift on a holiday and should take leave on that day.
The current wording of Section 219 of the Labour Code addresses this issue as follows:
“If, during an employee’s leave, a public holiday falls on a day which would otherwise be his or her normal working day, this day will not be included in this employee’s leave taking. This does not apply where the employee would otherwise have been required to work a shift on the day of the holiday and the taking of leave on that day was determined at the employee’s request.”
The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic in its judgment (File Number 21 Cdo 1299/2021, dated 26 January 2022) assessed the problem as follows:
For employers who run a continuous operation, i.e. an operation that requires the performance of work 24 hours a day, seven days a week (Article 78(1)(g) of the Labour Code), in view of the specifics of such operation, the Labour Code allows for employees to be ordered to work on public holidays.
If an employee working on a continuous basis is assigned by the employer in a predetermined shift schedule to work a shift on a day on which a public holiday falls, the employee is required to work that shift. However, if the employee is also ordered to take leave on that day (holiday), following its own decision, the employer in effect “gives up” the opportunity to assign work to that employee on that day.
It has then concluded that in the above case, i.e. where the employer itself decides not to assign work on a public holiday and orders the employee to take leave, the employee’s annual leave entitlement cannot be reduced.
The only exception to this rule is when the employee is scheduled to take leave on that day at his or her request. That is, if the employer complies with the employee’s request to grant leave on that day and allows the employee to take leave on that day (which is also expressly provided for in the aforementioned section of the Labour Code).
To put it simply, a public holiday generally takes precedence over annual leave with the only exception being the one stated above.