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  • The duration of annual holiday is a minimum of 28 calendar days per year.
  • The claim for annual holiday expires within one year as of the end of the calendar year for which the holiday is calculated.
  • Unused annual holiday is reimbursed in money only at expiry of the employment contract.

An overview of the types of holidays

Type of holiday

Duration of holiday

Holiday pay

Annual holiday

28 calendar days

Average calendar day remuneration

Annual holiday of minor

35 calendar days

Average calendar day remuneration

Annual holiday of employee with partial or no work ability

35 calendar days

Average calendar day remuneration

Annual holiday of educational staff

35–56 calendar days

Average calendar day remuneration

Maternity leave

100 calendar days

Maternity benefit

Paternity leave

30 calendar days

Paternity benefit

Adoptive parent leave

70 calendar days

Adoptive parental benefit

Parental leave

until the child is three years of age

Parental benefit

Child leave (until the child is 14 years of age)

10 working days per child for each parent

Child leave benefit

Child leave for a parent of a disabled child

One working day per month

Child leave benefit for a parent of a disabled child

Child leave without pay

up to ten working days

Unpaid

Carer’s leave

up to five working days

Minimum wage

Study leave

30 calendar days

20 days’ average calendar day remuneration, 10 days’ unpaid

Additional study leave to complete formal education studies

15 calendar days

Minimum wage

Leave for entrance examinations

Not specified

Unpaid

Annual holiday

The purpose of the leave is to give the employee time off to restore their capacity for work and prepare for the next work period. The right to take leave may not be refused and may not be replaced by any other form of compensation.

The duration of annual holiday is at least 28 calendar days per year. The parties may agree on a longer annual holiday, but not a shorter one.

The annual holiday of a minor and an employee with partial or no capacity for work is at least 35 calendar days per year. The duration of the annual holiday of educational staff is established by a regulation of the Government of the Republic.

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.

Earning and using leave

Annual holiday is granted for time worked. The leave must be taken during a calendar year; therefore, the period for calculating the leave is a calendar year (from 1 January to 31 December). 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.

The period on which the right to annual holiday is based includes:

  1. time worked;
  2. time of temporary incapacity for work;
  3. holiday and leaves (incl. maternity and paternity leave);
  4. time when the employees’ representative is representing employees in cases prescribed by law or a collective agreement;
  5. other time as agreed by the parties.

For parental leave and holiday without pay, the employee does not earn annual holiday, but the rest of the leave is taken into account when calculating leave, such as annual holiday, paternity leave, study leave, etc.

An employee has a right to take leave once they have worked for the employer for at least six months. In this case, the employee is granted leave in proportion to the time worked. For example, if an employee has started work at the beginning of October, there are three months (from October to December) that entitle them to take leave, but by agreement of the parties, the leave can also be taken after three months of work.

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 employer may refuse to divide the annual leave into periods of less than seven days, but by agreement the annual leave of less than seven days shall be permitted.

Interruption or postponement of the holiday

Despite the fact that the leave specified in the holiday schedule must be granted to the employee in accordance with the schedule, the law prescribes certain cases in which the holiday may be interrupted or postponed. Both the employee and the employer have the right to interrupt or postpone the holiday.

Upon interruption or postponement of the holiday, the employee has the right to demand taking the unused part of the leave immediately after the circumstance preventing the use of the leave ceases to exist or at another time by agreement of the parties. In such a case, it is irrelevant whether the holiday was interrupted or postponed for reasons attributable to the employer or the employee.

The employer’s right to interrupt or postpone the holiday

An employer only has the right to interrupt or postpone a holiday due to an unforeseen substantial work organisation-related emergency. In particular, the holiday may be interrupted to prevent damage.

The employer is obliged by law to compensate the employee for expenses arising from the interruption or postponement of the holiday. For example, before interrupting an employee’s leave, the employer should consider whether they are willing to pay for a trip purchased by the employee that cannot be used due to the interruption of the leave, or whether it is easier and cheaper for them to find another employee to perform the necessary duties. In such a case, the employer may need to pay the employee remuneration for overtime or additional duties performed.

The employee’s right to interrupt or postpone the holiday

An employee has the right to interrupt, postpone or prematurely terminate a holiday due to significant reasons arising from the person of the employee, in particular due to temporary incapacity for work, maternity leave or participation in a strike. In particular, interruptions or postponements of leave are situations where the employee is temporarily incapacitated for work. For example, an employee becomes ill during or immediately before the start of the holiday.

The employee shall be obligated to notify the employer of an impediment to using the holiday at the first opportunity. For example, if the employee falls ill while on holiday, he or she must inform the employer and ask them to interrupt the holiday.

The issuance of a certificate of incapacity for work does not automatically interrupt the leave, and the employer must draw the employee's attention to the fact that a corresponding declaration of intention must be submitted in order to interrupt the leave.

Expiry of the holiday

The holiday calculation period is a calendar year. In each calendar year, the employee should take all their annual leave. Nevertheless, a situation may arise where an employee has not taken all of their leave during a calendar year. In that case, the unused leave must be carried over to the following calendar year.

The law does not stipulate whether an employee must first take the current year’s leave and only then the previously unused leave, or vice versa. The determination of the priority of the use of holidays shall be decided by the parties. When making agreements, it is important to allow the employee to use the earned leave before the holiday claim expires.

The claim for annual holiday expires within one year as of the end of the calendar year for which the holiday is calculated. For example, the annual leave for the calendar year 2021 can be used during the years 2021 and 2022. After that, the annual holiday has expired. The purpose of the short expiry period is to motivate employees to take annual holiday each year to avoid overworking.

Expiry of the holiday shall be suspended if the employee:

  • is on maternity leave;
  • is on paternity leave;
  • is on adoptive parent leave;
  • is on parental leave;
  • is on compulsory military service;
  • is in alternative service.

Expiry of the holiday is postponed by the period of the suspension. Example: In 2019, an employee was on childcare leave for 6 months. The employee has the right to use the annual holiday for 2019 until 01/07/2021 (i.e. 01/01/2021 plus 6 months, when the expiry period had stopped).

Upon expiry of the holiday claim, the employee loses the right to use this holiday as well as the right to demand monetary compensation for unused annual holiday upon expiry of the employment relationship.

Compensation for unused holiday

Unused annual holiday is reimbursed by monetary compensation only at expiry of the employment contract. The compensation is paid together with the final settlement.

An agreement on compensation for holiday with money or other benefits during the term of the employment contract is void.

If, at expiry of the employment contract, it turns out that the employee has used unearned holiday, the corresponding holiday pay shall be deducted from the employee’s wages. The employee’s consent is not required.

How to calculate the number of holidays you ave earned:

Take all the days from the start of the employment contract, divide by the number of days in the year, then multiply by the number of holidays stated in your contract.

Example: The employment relationship lasted from 01/01/2021 to 31/03/2021. The employee did not use the annual holiday during the employment relationship. The employer must compensate the employee with the final settlement for 6.9 days of unused annual holiday (90/365*28=6.9).

Annual holiday of employees with partial or no work ability

Employees with partial or no work ability are entitled to 35 calendar days of annual holiday (§ 57 of the Employment Contracts Act), unless otherwise provided by law. The employee and the employer may also agree on a longer annual holiday.

It is important to keep in mind that the seven calendar days by which the annual holiday of employees with partial or no work ability must be extended is not additional holiday. Instead, all 35 calendar days constitute the total annual holiday of the employee. If annual holiday granted by the employer is more than 35 calendar days (eg for educational workers), employees with partial or no work ability are not entitled to additional days of holiday because the requirement prescribed by law – for employees with partial or no work ability to have at least 35 days of annual holiday – is already met. Some companies may offer employees additional holiday as a benefit (eg based on their length of service). If the employer provides additional holiday, it must also be granted on the same basis to employees with partial or no work ability if the conditions for it are met.

Partial or no work ability is established in accordance with the Work Ability Allowance Act. Employees are entitled to 35 days of annual holiday after a decision is made on their work ability (ie from the moment partial or no work ability is established). Moreover, in the year in which partial or no work ability was established, the employee is entitled to extended annual holiday proportionally, not for the entire year.

Example: if an employee whose annual holiday is 28 calendar days is established to have partial or no work ability on 1 July 2023, their holiday from January to June is calculated on the basis of 28 calendar days:
28 (duration of annual holiday from 1 January to 30 June) ÷ 365 (number of calendar days in 2023) × 181 (number of calendar days worked from 1 January to 30 June) = ~ 13.89 days of annual holiday.
From July until the end of the year, the calculation is based on 35 calendar days:
35 (duration of annual holiday from 1 July) ÷ 365 (number of calendar days in 2023) × 184 (number of calendar days worked from 1 July to 31 December) = ~ 17.64
The employee’s annual holiday for 2023 is 13.89 + 17.64 = 31.53 calendar days.

The same principle applies to the calculation of annual holiday if the employee is established to be fully able to work in the middle of the calendar year – the employee is entitled to extended annual holiday only in proportion to the time worked during which they had partial or no work ability, and, after the employee is declared able to work, their annual holiday is calculated on the basis of 28 calendar days.

In order for the employer to take into account the employee’s extended annual holiday, the employee has to notify their employer of the establishment of partial or no work ability.

Study leave

Study leave is regulated by both the Employment Contracts Act and the Adult Education Act. The organisation of formal education is governed by the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, Vocational Educational Institutions Act, Higher Education Act and Private Schools Act.

The purpose of study leave is to give an employee time off to study. An employee is entitled to study leave of up to 30 calendar days per calendar year to participate in training courses.

For formal and professional training courses, the employer must pay the employee an average calendar day remuneration for 20 calendar days. For the remaining ten calendar days, the employee can use holiday without pay. To complete the formal training course, the employee is granted an additional 15 calendar days of study leave, which must be paid for in the amount of the minimum wage.

An employee is also entitled to holiday without pay to take entrance examinations, which can be requested once in the year of admission.

The law does not oblige an employee to take the study leave all in one part. In accordance with the Adult Education Act, the use of study leave is left to the discretion of the employee. Therefore, the employee can take study leave on working days (for example, from Monday to Wednesday).

 

It must also be taken into account that the 30 calendar days of study leave are calculated per calendar year and not per employer. This means that an employee who is employed by two employers simultaneously is entitled to 30 calendar days of study leave with both employers if he or she uses study leave with both employers at the same time. If an employee decides to take study leave at different times, for example, takes 10 calendar days of study leave from one employer while working for the other employer, he or she will only have 20 calendar days of study leave during the rest of the calendar year, which he or she may use either with one employer or with both employers at the same time.

If an employee starts working for another employer during a calendar year and has taken study leave in full while working for the previous employer, the employee is not entitled to additional study leave with the new employer within that same calendar year. If in doubt, the new employer can contact both the employee’s previous employer and the educational institution to receive additional information about the employee’s right to take study leave.

On what grounds can an employer refuse to grant study leave?

  • If the employee does not give at least 14 calendar days’ correct notice or does not provide the employer with a notice from the educational institution;
  • If the employee is on academic leave, unless it is possible to participate in studies during the academic leave and the employee uses this opportunity;
  • If the study leave day or consecutive study leave days only coincide with the employee’s days off; (Example: An employee who works Mon–Fri cannot take study leave on Sat–Sun);
  • An employer also has the right to interrupt or postpone a period of study leave on the conditions provided for in subsection 69 (5) of the Employment Contracts Act.
  • If an employee starts working for another employer during a calendar year and has taken the study leave in full while working for the previous employer;
  • If an employee has two employers at the same time and has already used his or her 30 calendar days of study leave in full with one employer.

Parental leaves

Parents are entitled to seven different types of  child-related leaves. Read more at Leaves for parents

Leave for caring for an adult with a profound disability

An adult employee has the right to up to five working days of leave per calendar year for caring for an adult with a profound disability (carer’s leave) if they are:

  1. a relative in the ascending or descending line;
  2. a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister;
  3. the spouse or registered partner;
  4. the guardian;
  5. the caregiver appointed to the adult with a profound disability on the basis of section 26 of the Social Welfare Act.

The persons who are entitled to carer’s leave have the right to a total of five working days of carer’s leave per calendar year for one adult with a profound disability.

The carer’s leave can be used by one person at a time. The carer’s leave is paid for in accordance with the minimum wage.

A claim for carer’s leave expires when the calendar year when the claim became collectable ends.