Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic, On the conformity of Article 143.1 of the Labour Code of the Azerbaijan Republic with Articles 25, 37 and 149.1 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, 23 February 2000
Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic
Article 12, paragraph 2: Supreme Aim of State
The human and civil rights and freedoms enumerated in this Constitution shall be exercised in accordance with international agreements to which the Azerbaijan Republic is party.
Article 148, paragraph 2: Acts Included in the Legislative System of the Azerbaijan Republic
International treaties, of which the Azerbaijan Republic is a party, shall be inalienable compound part of the legislative system of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Article 151: Legal Force of International Acts
When disputes, contra lotions have arisen between normative-legal acts included in the legislation system of the Azerbaijan Republic (excepting the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic and the acts passed via referendum) and international treaties, of which the Azerbaijan Republic is a party, the latter ones shall be applied.
Holidays with pay
Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
Restriction on the right to holidays with pay at the end of the employment contract/ Institution of proceedings before the Constitutional Court/ Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
The Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan provided that in the event of termination of the employment contract workers were entitled to enjoy the days of paid holidays which they had not yet taken. However, this provision did not apply whenever the termination was the result of the liquidation of the company or failure by the worker to comply with his responsibilities or obligations. The President of the Supreme Court had referred the case to the Constitutional Court for a decision on the constitutionality of this law.
The Court found that this restriction was inconsistent with Articles 37(1) and 37(2) of the Constitution and with various instruments of international law.
In order to demonstrate the fundamental nature of the right to paid holidays the Constitutional Court actually referred to the articles of several international instruments:
“The right of every employee to regular paid holiday is also reflected in Article 24 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights,4 Article 7(d) of the International Pact on Economical, Social and Cultural Rights5 and Article 3 of the Convention of the International Labour Organization on paid holidays.”6
The Constitutional Court found that the disputed provisions of the law on paid holidays contravened the articles of the above-mentioned international instruments and, in addition, violated the principle of equality established in the Constitution.
After referring to international law to underline the fundamental nature of the rights that had been infringed, the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan ruled that the provisions of the Labour Code depriving employees of their rights to paid holidays were unconstitutional.
5 Article 7(d) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of every one to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work, which ensure, in particular: (…) d) rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.”