It is an important employment condition, but not always clear: your vacation days. This lack of clarity is mainly due to the different types of days. There are two types: statutory and non-statutory. What kind of day it is determines how much you have and how long you can use it. Below you can read exactly how that works.
The difference between legal and non-statutory
Every year you accrue vacation days with your employer. Everyone is entitled to at least 4 times the agreed working hours per week. So if you work 40 hours a week, you will get 160 hours of vacation per year. This is 20 days, so 4 weeks. If you work 32 hours, you also get 4 weeks of vacation: you are legally entitled to 128 hours. We call the 4 weeks to which everyone in paid employment is entitled the statutory holidays.
But many people get more vacation days per year: the extra-statutory days. How many of these 'extra' days you get differs per industry and employer. Your collective labor agreement or employment contract states whether you have holidays in excess of the statutory entitlement, and how many there are.
When do my holidays expire?
All vacation days expire if you don't take them. When that happens depends on the type of leave. Statutory vacation days expire 6 months after the end of the year in which you accrued them. So take your vacation days from 2022 before July 1, 2023. Otherwise you will lose them. This can only happen if you have had the opportunity to take them and if your employer has informed you that they expire. Your employer is obliged to give you the opportunity to use your statutory holidays. Please note: there may be different agreements about this in your collective labor agreement or company regulations.
The statute of limitations works differently for holiday days in excess of the statutory entitlement: they only expire 5 years after the year in which you accrued them. So the days from 2018 that you have not taken will be lost after December 31, 2023. Other agreements may also be made about this in your employment contract or collective labor agreement.
Have holidays paid out
Do you still have days you can't finish? Statutory holidays will then expire. You can sometimes have holidays that exceed the statutory minimum, but agreements must be made about this in your collective labor agreement or employment contract. You cannot therefore enforce payment from your employer.
When you book a holiday, you cannot choose which days you use for it. Your employer must always first debit the days that expire first. So pay attention to this if you still have many old non-statutory holidays.