On 4 December 2018 a sweeping ruling of the European Court of Justice deemed Article 6 of Annex X of the Staff Regulations illegal. The said article, changed at the occasion of the 2014 Staff Regulations reform, reduced the annual leave of colleagues in Delegations to bring it in line with everyone else. The ruling was made on grounds of the health and safety of staff who, most times isolated in remote corners of the world, needs extra time to travel back home and rest with their family and friends.
With no immediate reaction from the Administration in the following two weeks, on 19 December, a Common Front joint Article 90 Complaint online form was launched to ask for the 4 December ECJ ruling to be applied for the Annual Leave decision for 2019 (we remind the 2019 annual leave was set on the October 9th with a deadline to file complaints on 9 January) . This exercise ultimately resulted in a new court case joined by 700+ expatriated colleagues in EU Delegations.
The above is all public knowledge. What is not public knowledge is the fact that it was a Generation 2004 colleague stationed in an EU Delegation who, while by chance checking his annual leave rights, noticed the deadline to submit complaints was 9 January and not 31 March as initially announced by the lawyers. This information, which he swiftly transferred to Generation 2004 in Brussels, precipitated a rush of contacts among OSPs and launching the online Article 90 complaint procedure in a very tight delay that saw it launched on the eve of the end-of-year break with a deadline just after it. This year, Generation 2004 kept a close eye on the annual leave setting for next year (it was set on 5 October) and immediately started working on it with other OSPs. Meanwhile the Common Front tried to initiate a negotiation at Administrative and Political level on these matters but received no response. Therefore, earlier today a new complaint procedure was launched for the annual leave of 2020.
You may have already seen the email from the Common Front calling for registrations in the 2020 Annual Leave joint Article 90 complaint action but in case you have missed it and would like to join, please enrol here.