Take all your holidays in time, by the end of the year!

Employees must take their legal holiday entitlement before the end of the year. Nonetheless, we see in practice that some employees and employers make mutual agreements to transfer holidays to the following year. This practice is unlawful and is even a punishable offence! It is important that the entire holiday entitlement is taken in time.

What if some holidays are not taken in time?

Taking the holidays accrued before the end of the year is a legal obligation. If an employee nevertheless chooses not to take some of their holiday entitlement, then he or she will irrevocably lose the holidays not taken on 1 January. Moreover, white-collar workers will also lose the right to holiday pay for the holidays not taken in time. Blue-collar workers will always receive full holiday pay for all holidays via the paid leave fund – including any days that were not taken.

How to make sure the full holiday entitlement is taken?

The employer could, for example, send a memo around in the autumn asking staff to take all their remaining holidays before the end of the year. This could explicitly mention that the holiday entitlement cannot be transferred to the following year, because this would be unlawful. The importance of taking sufficient holiday leave, even when people do not think they need it, could also be emphasised. 

What if the full holiday entitlement is still not taken?

There is one exception: suppose an employer had systematically refused to grant holidays, meaning the employee was ultimately no longer able to take all their leave in time. Solely in this instance does the employee have the right to take the holidays even after the deadline. The dates for this leave should be determined in joint agreement between the employee and the employer. Where no agreement can be reached, the employee or the employer may request a summary judgement from the Presiding Judge of the Labour Court as to when the leave can be taken. 

What if some holidays are not taken in time owing to illness?

Suppose an event outside the employee’s control led to the full holiday entitlement not being taken in time. The remaining holidays can then be paid out regardless, on an exceptional basis. This may be caused by illness, for example


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