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If you run a business in the Netherlands and you employ staff, or if your business has its registered office outside of the Netherlands and you employ workers in the Netherlands, you must comply with statutory regulations regarding holiday entitlements(in Dutch). These regulations state that employees are entitled to a minimum number of days' paid leave.
The statutory number of leave hours per year is at least 4 times the number of weekly working hours. In the event of part-time employment, the number of leave hours is calculated proportionally. Your sector's collective labour agreement(CAO) may contain agreements on holiday entitlements.
Coronavirus: no mandatory holidays
You may not force your employees to take holidays (in excess) if you have less or no work for them due to the coronavirus. You may ask your employees to take leave. You must pay your employees their fixed hours. Do you suffer loss of turnover as a result of the corona crisis? Then you can apply for a compensation towards wages (NOW measure). You may not withhold holiday allowance to pay for salaries, unless you and your employees agree to this as part of a survival plan for your business. In case of payment problems you may once pay the holiday allowance on a later date or in instalments. Your employees must agree to this.
Taking statutory holidays
Employees must take their statutory holidays in any given year within 6 months after the end of that year. Vacation days accrued in 2015 cannot, therefore, betaken after 1 July 2016. After that, they will lapse. However, the 6 month period does not apply to employees who have reasonably been unable to take holiday. You and your employee(s) may, in joint consultation, decide to extend the period. According to the CAO, a 5 year period applies to additional holidays.
The Netherlands has a number of official public holidays. These are:
- New Year's Day
- Good Friday (depending on CAO)
- Easter Sunday
- Easter Monday
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
- King’s Day (27 April)
- Liberation Day (5 May, see below)
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
The CAO or employment contract that applies to your employees determines whether they have a day off on these public holidays. Your sector's CAO may state that a Christian public holiday can be substituted for an alternative religious holiday, these include the holiday of Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan or Chanukah.
Liberation Day (5 May)
Although 5 May is a public holiday, this does not necessarily mean your employees are entitled to have a paid day off. Many CAOs stipulate that 5 May is a day off once every five years (e.g. 2020, 2025, 2030 et cetera). You decide whether your employees have a day off on 5 May if the CAO does not contain any provisions on this subject or if there is no CAO for your sector.