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Holiday entitlement

This information is provided by Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Last updated on Nederlandse versie

If you run a business in the Netherlands and you employ staff, you must comply with statutory regulations regarding holiday entitlements (in Dutch). This also applies if your business has its registered office outside of the Netherlands and you employ workers in the Netherlands. These regulations state that employees are entitled to a minimum number of days' paid leave (wettelijke vakantiedagen). This means you have to keep paying your employees during their leave.

How many vacation days do you give to employees?

The statutory number of leave hours per year is at least 4 times the number of weekly working hours. Does an employee work 40 hours a week? They have a right to 4x40=160 hours of leave. In case of part-time employment, the number of leave hours is calculated proportionally.

You can offer employees extra leave (bovenwettelijke vakantiedagen). Sometimes, this is required by the collective labour agreement (CAO).

Taking statutory holidays

You must allow your employees to take their statutory holidays every year. They may choose to spend the holidays within 6 months after the end of the year. After that, they will expire. Vacation days accrued in 2022 cannot, therefore, be taken after 1 July 2023. 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 (with a maximum of 5 years).

The period after which extra leave hours will expire is 5 years after the year in which they have been accrued.

Paying off vacation days

  • You cannot pay off the statutory leave hours your employee has not used, even if this is requested by the employee.
  • You can pay off the unused extra leave hours, but only if your employee agrees to this.
  • If the employee leaves your company, you must pay off any unused (statutory or extra) leave hours.

Public holidays

The Netherlands has a number of official public holidays (in Dutch). There is no statutory obligation to give your employees leave on public holidays. Your sector's CAO or the employment contract determines if your employees can have a day off on public holidays.

Your sector's CAO may state that a Christian public holiday can be substituted for an alternative religious holiday. These include for instance the holiday of Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan or Chanukah.

The public holidays in the Netherlands are:

  • New Year's Day (1 January)
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • King’s Day (27 April)
  • Liberation Day (5 May, see also below)
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Sunday
  • Whit Monday
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)

Liberation Day (5 May)

Although 5 May is a public holiday, many collective labour agreements (CAOs) stipulate that 5 May is a day off only once every five years (for example 2020, 2025, 2030 et cetera). You decide whether your employees have a day off on 5 May if the CAO does not contain any terms on this subject, or if there is no CAO for your sector.

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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