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vrije dagen 2024

Holiday entitlement in 2024

To take holiday, employees first have to get permission from their employer. In principle, the employer has to agree to their request. But when can you say no? And what is the difference between statutory holiday entitlement and days over and above the statutory entitlement? We answer these questions for you below:

Statutory holiday entitlement

By law, employees are entitled to take days off. Each year, they can take off 4 times their weekly working hours. So an employee working 20 hours a week is entitled to 80 hours of paid holiday a year. Statutory holiday entitlement that is not used during the calendar year can be carried over to the end of June  of the next year. But collective labour agreements or employment contracts may allow unused entitlement to be carried over for longer. The 6-month limit on carrying over holiday entitlement does not apply if an employee could not use the entitlement because, for example, of being ill. Unused holiday entitlement cannot be exchanged for cash, except at the end of an employment contract.

Holiday over and above the statutory entitlement

As well as statutory holiday entitlement, a collective labour agreement or employment contract may allow extra days to be taken off over and above the statutory entitlement. These extra days can be carried over for 5 years. Rather than taking these days as holiday, employees can choose to have them paid out in cash. But neither the employee nor the employer can force each other to agree to this.

Using holiday entitlement

In principle, the employer has to agree to requests to take statutory holiday entitlement. Such requests can be refused only if serious business interests are at stake. This also applies if holiday periods apply to a whole sector, such as in the construction or education sectors. An employer refusing a request for holiday must notify the employee in writing within 2 weeks. The employer must then allow the employee to take holiday at another time. Different rules may apply to holiday over and above the statutory entitlement.

Building up holiday entitlement

Employees continue to build up holiday entitlement if they are on pregnancy or maternity leave. Except in the case of long-term care leave or additional childbirth leave, employees on unpaid leave do not build up holiday entitlement. Sick employees continue to build up holiday entitlement. An employer may allow an employee to use ordinary holiday entitlement during a period of illness. Employees who become ill during a holiday must notify their employer. Any such days will then count as sickness days rather than holiday entitlement used. Employees do not lose holiday entitlement days that they were unable to use because of being ill.

Compulsory holidays 

Each year, employers can state in a collective labour agreement or employment contract that certain days are compulsory holidays, such as the Friday between Ascension Day (a national public holiday) and the weekend. Employees then have to take holiday for the number of hours that they would otherwise have worked that day. Employers have to announce these days in good time.

Public holidays in 2024

Public holidays do not automatically mean a day off. No provision is made in law for public holidays, but agreements on this can be reached in a collective labour agreement or employment contract.

  • New Year’s Day: Monday, 1 January 2024
  • Good Friday: Friday, 29 March 2024
  • Easter: Sunday, 31 March and Monday, 1 April 2024
  • King’s Birthday: Saturday, 27 April 2024
  • Liberation Day: Sunday, 5 May 2024 (if provided for in the collective labour agreement)
  • Ascension Day: Thursday, 9 May 2024
  • Whitsun: Sunday, 19 and Monday, 20 May 2024
  • Christmas: Wednesday, 25 and Thursday, 26 December 2024


Exchanging holiday entitlement

More and more collective labour agreements and employment contracts allow official public holidays to be exchanged for a different day. That means, for example, that employees can exchange a Christian public holiday such as Whit Monday for a ‘non-official public holiday’ such as Eid al-Fitr (‘Sugar Feast’) or Keti Koti.