Holiday season is coming up; what’s in it for me?

Holiday season is coming up; what’s in it for me?

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The Dutch Umbrella Company is an IND-certified sponsor with a specialist team offering extensive knowledge and experience to help skilled professionals migrate to and work in the Netherlands.

You’ve been working in the Netherlands as an expat or contractor for a while now. However, if your employment started less than a full year ago you most likely did not have to deal with holiday allowance and paid leave yet. But the holiday season is drawing near, so be sure you know what exactly that means for you.

Countries around the world have different rules and regulations when it comes to annual leave, the number of days you get and any additional benefits.

Most have introduced statutory agreements for minimum employee leave from work, but it's definitely worth it to educate yourself about exactly what you’re entitled to as an employee.

In this article the Dutch Umbrella Company explains everything there is to know about the Dutch rules for holiday allowance and annual leave, and offers you useful information about the upcoming holiday season and your entitlements.

Holiday entitlements in the Netherlands

Dutch regulations state that everybody who is working in the Netherlands is entitled to holiday with full pay. There are no exceptions for expats, any employee is entitled to a minimum number of days of paid leave.

Statutory leave hours per year

The statutory number of leave hours per year is at least four times the number of weekly working hours. This means that full-time employment entitles you to a minimum of 20 holiday days per year.

Accrued holidays

Holiday days are accrued over an entire year. If you have worked somewhere for less than a year, the number of holiday days to which you are entitled will be calculated proportionally.

Part-time employment and holidays

If you work part-time you are entitled to the same number of days off, which is calculated in proportion to the hours you work per week. If you work 25 hours a week on a part-time basis, you are entitled to 100 hours of holiday.

Holidays expire

Holiday days have, by law, an expiration date. You have to use all paid vacation days within six months after the year the holidays were accrued. If you don’t take the holidays on time, these will unfortunately lapse and you lose them.


But there is an exception if you are unable to take holidays due to sickness or workload, for instance. In this case the holidays will not lapse for five years. This means that you must be able to take the minimum number of days to which you are entitled to as holiday.

Public holidays in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a number of generally recognised public holidays. These are Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday, Whit Monday, King’s Day and Liberation Day.

May 5 (Ascension Day) is an exception though. It’s a public holiday, but employers can decide for themselves if they want to give their employees a paid day off. Some CAOs stipulate that May 5 is a day off once every five years. Be sure to ask your employer whenever you’re in doubt.

Then there are some days that are a public holiday, but aren’t being recognised as official holidays, such as Sinterklaas (December 5) and New Year’s Eve.

Payment of holiday allowance

Generally speaking, you get paid monthly or every four weeks. It is also common practice for companies in the Netherlands to pay their employees an annual holiday allowance.

This holiday allowance is paid out at least once a year, typically at the end of May or beginning of June. However, in some cases the holiday allowance may be paid out on a monthly basis.

The majority of companies pays a holiday allowance that equals 8 percent of your base salary. There are different ways in which the holiday allowance can be calculated. A couple of examples:
Periodically paid together with the base salary.
Based on the real accumulated earnings of the past year.

However, the most common way to calculate the holiday allowance is based on the base salary of the pay period in which the company pays your holiday allowance.

There are some cases where you might be entitled to more days than the statutory minimum. For example, additional days can be accrued by older employees, or for length of service at a company.

It is possible that the collective labour agreement (CAO) of the sector you work in includes agreements on holiday entitlements. Consult your CAO if you want to know more about your holiday entitlements.

Dutch Umbrella Company helps expats

It’s important to have a good understanding of what you are entitled to as an employee in the Netherlands, and the Dutch Umbrella Company can help you with this.

Your personal situation may be different, or maybe you would like to know what happens when your contract is terminated, whether it’s possible to trade in your holiday days, or what you are entitled to if you don’t have enough paid vacation days? Want to know more?

Dutch Umbrella Company has all the answers for expats and contractors. They work with highly skilled migrants and businesses and have a thorough understanding of Dutch labour law.

To find out more please contact them via:
› telephone: +3120 820 15 60
› email:
 [email protected]

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Daniël Wehnes


Daniël Wehnes

I always try to see how I can help any employee or employer with their needs, especially during times where a lot of job vacancies can't be filled locally. A...

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