Local Council ordered to pay former clerk for unused vacation leave

The Industrial Tribunal has ordered the Dingli Local Council to pay a former clerk for unused vacation leave.

Katia Fenech claimed that she had been working in the said council for a year and a half and for a long time had worked as the sole clerk.

She stressed that she could not take leave even because the Executive Secretary was employed on a part-time basis and therefore if she had taken vacation leave, the office would have had to close.

Fenech explained how she asked for the leave to be converted into ‘time in lieu’ and this was approved, but after the Council was changed she resigned and asked to be paid for the leave she did not take, however nothing was forthcoming.

The Dingli Local Council claimed that the case was time-barred by prescription, ie the time for filing the case had lapsed.

It also argued that the decision taken by the previous council was not in accordance with the law and the collective agreement while mentioning how leave should not exceed 48 hours.

After hearing both sides, the Industrial Tribunal chaired by Dr Geoffrey Vella pointed out that Fenech could not take leave because there were no other employees employed in the same role.

He stressed that an employee could not be deprived of his sacrosanct right to ‘vacation leave’.

Vella added that it was thanks to her that the council continued to operate administratively and continued to serve the local residents.

He noted that the council had a deficit of € 50,000 and Fenech even worked after hours voluntarily.

“The applicant had made great sacrifices by refusing to take her own leave to serve the respondent council thereby saving the council large sums of money.”

Fenech was assisted by Dr. Andrew Grima while Dr. Dean Hili appeared for the Local Council.