Frequently Asked Questions: Holidays in the Netherlands.

This article is designed to have easy access to all Frequently Asked Questions about holidays in the Netherlands. This article is regularly updated as new questions are received.

  1. What are Statutory Holiday [Wettelijke vakantiedagen]?

By law, the minimum number of holiday days to which employees are entitled each year is four times the number of working days a week. In the case of a full-time employment (pro-rated working part time), the employee is entitled to a minimum of 20 holidays per year (4 x 5 working days a week).

The holiday year runs from 1 January to 31 December. If an Employee starts or finishes the employment part way through the holiday year, the holiday entitlement during that year shall be calculated on a pro rata basis.

  1. What are Non-Statutory Holidays [Bovenwettelijke vakantiedagen]?

The Non-Statutory Holidays vary per type of industry in the Dutch market. On average, most companies have 5 Non-Statutory Holidays.

These Non-Statutory Holidays are additional holiday days on top of the Statutory Holidays and are often described in the Employee Handbook or, if applicable, in the Collectivans, the total Holidays for employees are 25 days (20 statutory days + 5 Non statutory days) per year based on a full time-employment (pro-rated working part-time).

The holiday year runs from 1 January to 31 December. If an Employee starts or finishes the employment part way through the holiday year, the holiday entitlement during that year shall be calculated on a pro rata basis.

  1. When do holiday days expire and how many days be carried over to the next year?

Statutory Holidays expire six months after the calendar year in which an employee has accrued them. Statutory Holiday days from the previous year, therefore expire on 1 July of each year.

Non-Statutory Holidays are valid for five years. The employee can therefore save these days for a longer period and, for example, take an extra-long holiday once every five years.

  1. What are the Public Holidays in the Netherlands?
  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Monday
  • King’s Day (27 April)
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)

Company’s decision:

Liberation Day (5 May) is a public holiday. It is common practice to have this day off once every five years (e.g., 2025, 2030 etc.) but the company could decide to diverge and agree to set this day each year as a day off.

Good Friday is not an official public holiday, though most schools are closed. Some public offices are closed, the companies could decide to apply a day off.

  1. What is the 8% Holiday Allowance?

By Dutch law, every employee is obliged to receive 8% holiday pay over the previous 12 months regular gross salary earned. The definition of the gross salary for holiday allowance calculation is the gross salary including overtime pay, but excluding benefits (bonus, allowances etc.). Pay out to the employee has to be by minimal 1 instalment per year. In general, the holiday allowance is paid in May, sometimes in June.

If the company has a Collective Labour Agreement, it could be possible to deviate from this ruling – however the holiday allowance percentage can never be lower than 8%, higher is possible.

On the moment the gross monthly or annual salary is agreed with an employee subject to Dutch legislation, then on top of this gross salary comes 8% holiday allowance. Please make sure in the employment contract it is clear if the salary is including or excluding the 8% holiday allowance. Without this stated, the employee is still entitled to the holiday pay, despite possible agreements.

  1. Holiday requests, how does it work?

Request and procedure of holidays should be done officially by the employee to the employer.

The process, guidelines and the timing should be described in the employee handbook. Make sure the request is easy to find in order to clarify any misunderstandings and to prevent labour conflicts.

  1. Is it allowed to buy and sell (pay out) holiday days?

By Dutch law it is not allowed to sell statutory holiday days, only the Non-Statutory Holiday days can be sold. Companies are allowed to introduce their own scheme, as long as it does not conflict with the law, Collective Labour Agreement [CAO] and should be included in the employee handbook.

In some instances, holiday days are paid out to the employee:

  1. At the dismissal or termination of employment, in agreement all remaining holiday day(s) may be paid out.
  2. During the term of the employment contract, but only if this has been agreed in your employee’s contract or in the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Companies are allowed to introduce their own scheme for buying extra holidays and should be described in the employee handbook or Collective Labour Agreement [CAO]. The purchase for the additional days is acquired out of the employee’s salary.

  1. What the Leaves of Absence types?

Leaves of Absence is regulated under the Work and Care Act  [Wet Arbeid en Zorg] in the Netherlands: WAZO. This Act defines the right to leave and the right to payment. Read more about all types of Leaves of Absence in the Netherlands.

  1. What Leaves of Absence types are influencing the holiday days?
  • Employee on maternity leave/pregnancy leave: accrual of holiday days will continue during that period of leave.
  • Employee on partner leave: accrual of holiday days will continue during that period of leave.
  • Employee on parental leave, the weeks paid by the UWV: accrual of holiday days will continue in that period of leave. The other weeks of parental leave is unpaid leave (as it currently is): no holidays will be accrued during that period of time.
  • Employee on sick leave: accrual of holiday days will continue during that period of leave.