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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. 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.
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 generally recognised (Christian) public holidays and public holidays that are not generally recognised. The generally recognised public holidays are Christmas Day and Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, King’s Day and Liberation Day. The CAO or employment contract that applies to your employees determines whether they have a day off on these public holidays. Public holidays that are not generally recognised are, for example, the holiday of Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan or Chanukah. Your sector's CAO may state that a Christian public holiday can be substituted for a non-recognised public holiday.
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.