By a majority, the EAT has held in Craig & ors v Transocean & ors that annual leave under the Working Time Regulations 1998 can be accommodated within an established work/rest pattern, and does not have to be taken from time that is otherwise working time.
The employers had told their employees that annual leave was not to be taken during periods rostered for work, but only in the off shift time (known in the industry as field breaks). The EAT held that such notices were effective. It added that the employers could have given advance notice to the employees of the periods that they could or could not take annual leave rather than do so in response to Regulation 15 notices by the employees seeking leave.
[Thanks to Sandy Kemp of Simpson & Marwick, who acted for the successful employer, for producing this summary]