In the Netherlands you get at least 8% of your gross annual fixed salary as holiday pay. The calculation is based on 12 months’ wages. Your employer must pay the holiday allowance at least once a year. This usually happens in May.
Accruing holiday hours
In the Netherlands, you do not accrue ‘holiday days’ but ‘holiday hours’. There is a legal minimum for this per year, which is 4 times the number of hours you work per week. If you work 36 hours per week, you are entitled to at least 4 x 36 = 144 hours of holiday. That is 18 days per year.
Many workers are entitled to more holiday hours. Exactly how many is stated in the collective agreement (cao) or in your employment contract. You can have your holiday hours (partially) paid out in agreement with the employer and in compliance with legal conditions. A full-time employee must take at least 20 days of holiday per year. The employee must be able to take at least 2 weeks of uninterrupted leave once a year.
There are also a number of public holidays in the Netherlands. Whether you have these days off depends on your employment contract and collective agreement. You can find an up-to-date overview at the Rijksoverheid (website in Dutch).
Taking leave is done in consultation with your employer. You can take your holiday hours by the hour, but also by the day. You are entitled to at least two consecutive weeks of holiday per year. Some industries have a fixed holiday period. In these industries, if you want to take several weeks of leave in a row, you must do so during that period. In addition, collective holidays are often agreed, for example the Friday after Ascension Day. Then you are obliged to take a day off.
Carrying over holiday hours to the next year
You are allowed to carry over holiday hours to the next year, but there is often a restriction. You can find the arrangements that apply to you in the CAO, in your employment contract or in other regulations issued by your employer.
Sickness during leave
If you are sick, you do not have to take holiday leave for it. Not even if you are already on holiday. However, your cao or employment contract may state that you must take one day of leave for each of the first two days of illness, for example. In addition, the first two days of sick leave may not be paid.
You can find more information about continued payment of wages during illness here.
Remaining leave when your employment relationship ends
When your employment ends, the remaining days of leave must be taken or the employer must pay out the accrued holiday pay when you receive your final pay slip. Holiday pay that has already been accrued must also be paid out.