Duration of holiday
An employee is entitled to at least 28 calendar days of annual holiday in each calendar year. The duration of the holiday does not depend on whether the employee works part time or full time. The law prescribes a leave of 35 calendar days for minors and employees with partial or no capacity for work, of which seven calendar days are compensated to the employer by the Social Insurance Board.
In the year of the assessment of partial or no capacity for work, the employee is entitled to 35 calendar days of annual holiday from the moment of determining the partial or no capacity for work (decreased capacity for work will be determined retrospective to the day of filing the application, thus providing protection to the concerned persons). If an employee is granted partial or no capacity for work in the middle of a calendar year, the employee has until that moment 28 calendar days of annual holiday and thereafter 35 calendar days of annual holiday. For example, if an employee is assessed for partial incapacity for work on 1 July, they will have 28 calendar days of annual holiday until 30 June and 35 calendar days of annual holiday starting from 1 July. The annual holiday of a minor employee is also calculated in the same way. If the employee reaches the age of 18 on 1 July, their annual leave shall be 35 calendar days until 30 June, and starting from 1 July the annual leave shall be 28 calendar days.
Out of the 35 calendar days of annual holiday of the employee with partial or no capacity for work and a minor employee, the state compensates the employer for seven calendar days. More information on compensation can be found on the website of the Social Insurance Board.
The duration of the annual holiday of educational staff is 35–56 calendar days, depending on the position. In addition, the length of the holiday may be longer, depending on the applicable collective agreement or agreement between the parties. Annual holidays do not include national and public holidays. Example: The holiday schedule indicates an employee’s holiday on 21–27/06/2021, which also includes two public holidays.
The employee is absent from work for seven calendar days, but only five calendar days of annual holiday are used.
Use of holiday
An employer can determine the use of holiday by employees during the first quarter of each year when putting together the holiday schedule. Scheduling enables the employer to plan their work more effectively, identify the need for replacement and avoid a situation where all employees are on leave at the same time, for example during the summer months. When drawing up the holiday schedule, the employer is not obliged to satisfy the wishes of all employees or to grant holiday at the time an employee wishes, but takes into account the wishes of statutory beneficiaries and, if possible, the wishes of other employees, but only if it is in accordance with in the interests of the company.
The objective of the holiday schedule is to give both the employee and the employer the opportunity to plan work and holiday in advance. An employer draws up a holiday schedule for each calendar year and communicates it to the employee within the first quarter of the calendar year. An employer shall indicate annual holiday and unused holiday in the holiday schedule, but may also add other leaves such as paternal leave, child leave, study leave, etc. The employer must take into account that the employee would be able to take the leave before it expires, i.e. within two years.
If an employer has not drawn up or communicated the holiday schedule by 31 March, each employee may go on holiday at the time they wish, notifying the employer 14 calendar days in advance pursuant to subsection 69 (3) of the Employment Contracts Act. For the employer, this may mean that all employees go on holiday in July, for example, with the employer having nothing to do in such a situation because they have missed their opportunity to organise the holidays themselves.
Drawing up the holiday schedule
The employer has the right to unilaterally establish the holiday, taking into account the employee’s reasonable wishes. If the employer determines the holiday schedule, the length of the leave must be 28 consecutive calendar days. If the employee wishes to take the leave in parts, it must be agreed with the employer in advance. The employer also has the right to establish collective leave. For example, a collective leave may be established in the winter period, when the company has the lowest workload, while in the summer no one takes their holiday due to the intensive workload. A company does not need to have a collective agreement to establish collective leave.
The holiday schedule is drawn up as follows:
- The employer requests information from employees when they wish to take their annual holiday, also explaining that if the employee wishes to take the leave in parts, the duration of at least one part must be 14 calendar days. The employer may limit the use of the remaining parts to 7 calendar days;
- The employer is obliged to take into account the wishes of the statutory beneficiaries when drawing up the schedule. They must be guaranteed leave at a time that suits them;
- The employer draws up a holiday schedule taking into account the wishes of the employee and the needs of the company;
- If the employer, after exercising the rights of the statutory beneficiaries, cannot take into account the wishes of all the employees, they shall:
- determine the time of holiday themselves, allowing the employee to take full annual leave at a time convenient to the employer;
- enter into negotiations with the employee and make an agreement on the division and use of the leave at a time convenient to the parties;
- Approve the holiday schedule and notify the employees by 31 March at the latest. It is recommended that the employer obtains confirmation from the employee that the schedule has been read in order to avoid later disputes.
The following persons have the right to request leave at a time convenient to them:
- a woman immediately before and after maternity leave or immediately after parental leave;
- a man immediately after parental leave or during maternity leave;
- a parent raising a child up to seven years of age;
- a parent raising a child of seven to ten years of age (during the child’s school holidays);
- a minor subject to the obligation to attend school (during school holidays).
During both the request and the use of the leave, the employee must belong to the respective target group. Example: an employee’s child turns seven years old on 01/07/2021. The employee wishes to use the annual holiday on 02/09–30/09/2021. At the time of drawing up the holiday schedule (February 2021), the employee’s child is six years old, but will be seven years old during the use of the holiday. Consequently, in 2021, the employee can claim annual holiday only during the child’s school holidays and not at any time they choose. Thus, since the employee wishes to take leave outside school holidays and the child is seven years old, the employee cannot demand the employer to take their prerogative into account.
The holiday schedule shows the duration of the main holiday with start and end dates. If an employee has unused leave days from the previous calendar year, these shall also be indicated in the holiday schedule.
Annual holiday may be divided in parts by agreement of the parties. In this case, the length of at least one part of the leave must be 14 consecutive calendar days. The purpose of that provision is that, even if the leave is divided in parts, the employee will receive at least part of it to the extent necessary to restore their health and working ability. An employee can also rest while not performing work duties on a public holiday. Thus, it is in accordance with the purpose of the Employment Contracts Act if an employee exercises the right to refuse work during a 14-day period, with, for example, 12 calendar days of annual holiday and two days of public holidays. The employer may refuse to divide the annual holiday into periods of less than seven days, but by agreement the annual holiday of less than seven days shall be permitted.
The leave can be used by the employee according to the holiday schedule. If the employer has not drawn up a schedule, the employee must be responsible for the use of their leave and inform the employer 14 calendar days in advance in a form that can be reproduced in writing.
In the case of taking maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave and adoptive parent leave, the employer must be notified at least 30 calendar days in advance, unless the parties have agreed otherwise. There is also a 30-calendar-day notice period for taking child leave if the employee wishes to take more than 15 consecutive calendar days of child leave. Parties may agree otherwise.
As the notice period for the use of unspecified leave is relatively short, it would be reasonable for the employer to draw up a holiday schedule and communicate it to employees as early as possible at the beginning of the year. Holidays included in the schedule can only be changed by agreement of the parties.
The employer is not prohibited from giving the employee leave in advance, i.e. for time not worked. For example, an employee takes full advantage of a calendar year’s holiday during the summer.
Before drawing up the holiday schedule, the employee can take leave during the first quarter only by the agreement of the parties. An employee cannot claim that the holiday schedule has not been drawn up before the end of the first quarter, i.e. before 1 April. Therefore, it is not possible to request leave with a 14-calendar-day notice period in advance. It is allowed only to those persons who have the legal right to demand leave at a time convenient to them. However, before approving the holiday schedule, the employee may take other holidays (e.g. study leave, child leave).