The rules surrounding your days and hours off

If you work you are entitled to days off. But how many days are you entitled to? And what are the rules regarding days off? It is wise to read up on this carefully so that you know what your rights and obligations are. In this article you can read more information about the days off.

How many days off are you entitled to?

Everyone who works has the right to four times the number of days they work per week. So if you work five days a week you are entitled to at least 20 days off. If you work part-time and therefore a certain number of hours per week, your hours will be multiplied by four. For example, if you work 20 hours a week, it is 20 x 4 and you are entitled to 80 hours off. Part-time employees are entitled to fewer hours off, but if, for example, they work 3 days a week and want to go on holiday for 3 weeks, they only have to take 9 days off from work.

Extra-statutory hours

All days off that one receives in excess of the minimum set amount are called extra-statutory days. The number of days or hours off per year are usually determined in the collective labor agreement (CAO). You cannot have the legally required days converted into money. However, the Extra-Statutory Hours can be converted into money in accordance with the collective labor agreement, the works council and in consultation with the employer.


The collective labor agreement usually contains more rules regarding holidays. A number of rules that may be included here are, for example:

  • that you must take a mandatory number of consecutive days of holiday
  • that you indicate the days you want to go on holiday for a specific date
  • that in principle you cannot take a holiday during certain busy periods

If you submit a request for a holiday in writing, the employer must respond within two weeks. If this does not happen, you can assume that it has been agreed. If you are ill during your holiday, you must report this. If it hinders your holiday, these days are not considered holiday days.

Save up days of leave

You must have used up all the statutory hours you have left within 6 months in a new year. The extra-statutory hours may be saved for 5 years. However, discuss this carefully because most employers prefer not to save days. For example, it is not possible within every company to save days so long that one can take a break for a few months. This is also a good sign, because you are indispensable within the company. If you cannot use the extra statutory hours upon termination of employment, they must be paid out.

Build up days

If you have just started a new job, you cannot, in principle, take holiday immediately. You must build up your vacation days. Suppose you have 24 days of vacation per year, then after one month of work you are entitled to 2 days of vacation. 24 vacation days divided by 12 months. In consultation you may be able to take an advance payment of your vacation days.

Special holidays

It varies per collective labor agreement how many and when you have special days of leave. The following special days of leave may occur:

  • death of family members and/or relatives – depending on how close you were to the deceased person, 1 to 4 days
  • birth of your own child – maternity leave 16 weeks father is entitled to 2 days
  • moving – 2 days
  • betrothal – 1 day
  • wedding of yourself or a family member – for yourself 2 to 4 days for 1st and 2nd degree family 1 day
  • anniversaries of marriage or service – 1 to 3 days
  • church communion – 1 day

Other tips

  • Try to use up your hours as much as possible if you cannot take them with you, to prevent them from lapsing
  • always indicate in time when you want time off, allow 3 weeks for a day off and preferably six months for a longer holiday
  • There is also care leave if you want to be able to care for or need to care for a family member for a long period of time
  • a person needs days off, research has shown that after approximately 62 days people perform less well