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Schedule and Duration of Vacations

Viimati uuendatud: 01.10.2019


An employee is entitled to annual holiday of at least 28 calendar days per calendar year. The duration of the holiday does not depend on whether the employee works part-time or full-time. Minors and employees with partial or no work ability are entitled by law to annual holiday of 35 calendar days, of which seven calendar days are reimbursed to the employer by the Social Insurance Board.

During the year in which their partial or no work ability is determined, the employee is entitled to annual holiday of 35 calendar days from the date on which the partial or no work ability was determined (decreased work ability is established ex-post as of the date of the application, which guarantees protection for persons with partial or no work ability). If an employee is assigned partial or no work ability in the middle of the calendar year, the employee is entitled to annual holiday of 28 calendar days until that time and to annual holiday of 35 calendar days thereafter. For example, if an employee is assigned partial work ability on 1 July, they will be entitled to annual holiday of 28 calendar days until 30 June of that year and to annual holiday of 35 calendar days from 1 July. The annual holiday of a minor is calculated in a similar manner. If an employee turns 18 on 1 July, they are entitled to an annual holiday of 35 calendar days until 30 June and to an annual holiday of 28 calendar days from 1 July.

The state compensates the employer for seven calendar days of the annual holiday of 35 calendar days of an employee with partial or no work ability and of a minor employee. More information on the compensation can be found on the website of the Social Insurance Board.

The annual holiday of educational staff is 42–56 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.

Longer annual vacation may also be set in the Employment Contracts Act or special laws. For instance, a longer vacation is obligatory to minors, ship’s crew members, educational staff, etc. When concluding the employment contract also the vacation length (incl. additional vacation possibility) topic should be discussed.

The objective of the vacation schedule is to give both the employer and employee to plan work and vacation in advance. The vacation schedule or plan, when shall employees have vacations, shall be disclosed to the employees during the first quarter of the calendar year. The employer must mark the annual vacation and unused vacation into the schedule, but it may contain also other time off like parental leave, child care leave, and academic leave. The employer must consider that the employee should be able to use their earned vacation prior to its’ expiration (i.e. in two years).

The employer is entitled to determine the vacation unilaterally, thereby considering the employee’s reasonable wishes. If the employer determines the vacation schedule independently, the length of the vacation must be 28 consecutive calendar days. Should the employee wish to use their vacation in parts, it should be previously agreed with the employer. The employee is also entitled to prescribe a collective vacation. For example, during winter period when the company has lighter workload (and nobody will have a vacation in the summer months due to intensive load), etc. The company must not have a collective agreement to prescribe a collective vacation.

The following persons are entitled to get a vacation at the requested time:

  • a woman directly before or after the maternity leave, or after the parental leave;
  • a man during their partner’s maternity leave, or after the parental leave;
  • a parent raising a child younger than 7;
  • a parent on the child’s school holiday, if the child is 7 to 10 years old;
  • a minor, compulsory to attend school, on the school holiday.

On the parties’ mutual agreement, the annual vacation may be divided into parts. In this case, at least one part of the vacation must last at least 14 consecutive calendar days. The employer is obliged to refuse a vacation shorter than 7 days. If the employee wishes to use their vacation by 5 days, it is considered as artificial extension and this is not allowed.

Employee can use vacation according to the schedule. If the employer has not drawn one up, the employee must take action and use their vacation by notifying the employer at least 14 calendar days in advance, in a written and reproducible form. As the notification period of non-scheduled vacations is rather short, it is reasonable for the employer to compile the schedule and notify the employees as early in the year as possible. Scheduled vacations can only be changed on mutual agreement.

The employer can give vacation to the employee also in advance, for the unearned time. For example, the employee uses up the entire yearly vacation in the summer.

Vacation is the right and responsibility of an employee, to care for their health. The right to rest must be used and if the employer does not offer it, the employee should demand a vacation themselves by a corresponding application – otherwise, the vacation could expire and the employee has also lost the vacation pay.

Therefore, it is suggested to discuss prior to employment what is the length of the vacation and its’ use possibilities – whether the company has a collective vacation, vacations are only given during autumn, or are the employees’ wishes taken into consideration when compiling the schedule. This information could be relevant for the parties and not knowing it could cause misunderstandings.

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