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7 answers to 7 essential vacation questions


Every employee is entitled to vacation and weekend holidays. Collected here are answers to 7 of the most frequently asked questions from employers.

  1. How many vacation days is an employee entitled to?

By law, each employee is entitled to leave, the length of which depends on how many hours a person works per week. Legal leave is the number of hours worked per week multiplied by 4.

So, for example, an employee who works full time (40 hours per week) is entitled to 160 hours of vacation, that is, 20 days of vacation per year, and an employee who works part-time (20 hours per week) is entitled to 80 hours of vacation, that is, only 10 days of vacation per year.

A larger number of vacation days is not prohibited, but this is at the discretion of the employer. These will be additional vacation days. If there are such days, then their number should be indicated in the employment contract or collective agreement, which may be different for different fields of activity.

During vacation, the employer simply continues to pay his employee a salary. In addition, employees are entitled to vacation pay every year.

  1. Is it possible to accumulate vacation?

Yes, an employee can postpone vacation days "for a rainy day", then they are carried over to the next calendar year.

However, it is important to remember that from January 1, 2012, the "expiration date" is valid for unused vacation days, which is six months, and for additional non-statutory vacation days, those that the employer can give, this period is five years.

This means that if an employee has not taken a certain number of vacation days in one calendar year, he can use them only in the first half of the next year. After 6 months of the next year, these days disappear. Therefore, it is important that employees are able to take these vacation days.

If for some reason this is not possible, for example, due to employment or illness, the six-month period established by law is not extended. In such a case, the employee can take his unused leave for five years.

  1. What if an employee was sick on his vacation?

In the event of an employee's illness during vacation, these days are considered sick days, not vacation days. And vacation days are saved for him, and he can take them later. To do this, the employee must report the illness in accordance with the sickness notification rules that are stipulated in the contract.

  1. What about the days that the employee was ill? Does he get a vacation for them too?

The usual rules for calculating vacations apply here, the same as for working employees. However, this applies only to statutory vacation days and does not apply to additional ones. That is, if an employee has been sick month after year, his vacation is counted as for a year. However, be aware that the employment agreement (or binding collective agreement) may have different rules.

  1. Accrual of vacation while on vacation, how is it possible?

Here we are talking about maternity leave. They are equated to sick leave, that is, during this kind of leave, the days of paid leave prescribed by law are counted in the usual way, as if the employee were working.

An employer cannot ask to take paid leave instead of maternity leave. This also applies to most other similar forms of leave, such as parental leave.

  1. Can an employee take his vacation with money?

The days of official paid leave cannot be replaced by an appropriate payment as long as the employment contract is in force. Such replacement is possible only in case of termination of the employment contract (dismissal). In this case, the employee is paid for the remaining days of the statutory vacation. In addition, upon dismissal, the employer must also pay the employee the accrued vacation pay.

Additional vacation days not provided for by law can be replaced by payment of money only if it is stipulated in the employment contract.

If an employee needs more hours off, the company can introduce a scheme through which the employee can purchase additional hours and days off. However, you must first carefully study this issue, since when using such a scheme, there are certain pitfalls.

TIP: Sometimes it may be easier for an employer to give an employee unpaid leave.
  1. When is an employer required by law to release staff?

The Netherlands has national holidays such as Good Friday, King's Day and Liberation Day. If your company is subject to a collective bargaining agreement, it must release its employees on the holidays specified in this collective bargaining agreement.

If a collective bargaining agreement does not apply in your area, the company, in principle, is not obliged to release employees on holidays. However, it is worth specifying in the employment contract on which holidays the employees will still be free.


These public holidays, in principle, have nothing to do with the employee's paid leave. Thus, they cannot be deducted from the vacation. In the contract, it is possible to prescribe agreements only on additional vacation days, while the number of paid vacation days prescribed by law remains unchanged.

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