In Chatzi v Ipourgos Ikonomikon, the European Court of Justice held that the Parental Leave Directive creates rights for parents, not children. Therefore where twins are born, that does not mean that the parents have an automatic right to double the period of parental leave.
Mrs Chatzi gave birth to twins. She took nine months’ parental leave in respect of one twin then applied for a second period of parental leave in respect of the other twin, which was refused. She appealed to the Greek Administrative Court, who referred the following questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ): (i) does the Parental Leave Directive (PLD) create a right to parental leave for the child? (ii) if so, where there are twins, does the granting of only one period of parental leave infringe EU law on the grounds of discrimination on the basis of birth?
The ECJ answered “No”. Rights under the PLD were conferred upon parents in their capacity as workers, and not upon their children. This was clear from: (i) the stated purpose of the Framework Agreement, to “facilitate the reconciliation of parental and professional responsibilities for working parents”; (ii) from Clause 2.1, which conferred rights upon “workers”; and (iii) from the scope of the Agreement, namely that it applies “to all workers, men and women, who have an employment contract or employment relationship”. The ECJ further concluded that there is no direct correlation between the number of periods of leave and the number of children born, so having twins does not lead to an entitlement to a double period of leave.
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