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The summer holiday season is here – what are some things that you should know about the annual holiday?

13.6.2022
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News article

It is worth keeping in mind that employers are under no obligation to allow employees to take their holiday in several short periods.

Employees are entitled to summer holiday under the Annual Holidays Act. As a rule, the Annual Holidays Act applies to all work carried out as part of an employment relationship or public-service relationship. In some collective agreements, unions have negotiated a holiday that is longer than that provided for by the Annual Holidays Act. Because of this, you should check if the collective agreement in your industry contains provisions on the duration of the holiday that deviate from the Annual Holidays Act in favour of the employee.

Your company may also have a policy that allows you to accrue more holiday than what is provided for by law. Employees may also have agreed on a higher accrual rate than the one provided for by the Annual Holidays Act in their employment contract.

The employer has the right to decide the time of the employee’s annual holiday.

The main rule is that the provisions of the Annual Holidays Act are peremptory by nature. They may be deviated from only in favour of the employee. It is a good idea to negotiate better holiday rights than the ones provided for by law especially at the start of employment when you have not yet earned a full annual holiday.

Length of annual holiday

The accrual of annual holiday is based on the earning of annual holiday. A full holiday credit month refers to a calendar month in a holiday credit year that entitles the employee to annual holiday. The holiday credit year begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March.

According to the Annual Holidays Act, if an employee has worked for a full year by 31 March, they accrue 2.5 days of holiday for each full holiday credit month, or 30 days of holiday a year. If the employment relationship has lasted less than one year, they accrue 2 days of holiday for each month, or a maximum of 24 days per year.

The earned days of annual holiday are not working days, but weekdays. Due to this, you usually spend six earned days of annual holiday if you take a one-week holiday. The calculation of days of annual holiday is the same for all employees, regardless of the days of the week the person actually works on.

Under the Annual Holidays Act, a weekday means a day other than Sundays, national holidays, Independence Day, Christmas Eve, Midsummer Eve, Easter Saturday and the First of May. If such a day that is not considered a weekday is included in the annual holiday, you do not need to spend an earned day of annual holiday on it.

The Annual Holidays Act has no provisions concerning the minimum number of Saturdays that should be included in a holiday. However, employers often accept employees’ holiday requests only on the condition that at least every sixth day of the annual holiday is a Saturday. It is worth keeping in mind that employers are under no obligation to allow employees to take their holiday in several short periods.
A full holiday credit month is a month during which an employee has accumulated at least 14 days of work or the equivalent of days at work, as referred to in the Annual Holidays Act.

A full holiday credit month is a month during which an employee has accumulated at least 14 days of work or the equivalent of days at work, as referred to in the Annual Holidays Act.

If, in accordance with the employment contract, the employee works so seldom that they do not accumulate 14 days of work every month, the so-called 35-hour rule applies. According to this rule, a full holiday credit month is considered to be a month during which the employee has accumulated 35 hours at work or the equivalent of hours at work as referred to in the Annual Holidays Act. The 35-hour rule typically applies to those working part-time. If an employee works so seldom that they do not earn any annual holiday using either of the above methods, the employee still has the right to be given leave.

The employee accumulates two days of leave during the employment relationship for each calendar month in which the employment relationship has been in force. The employee is paid holiday compensation for such a leave (9% or 11.5% of the pay received or pay in arrears during the holiday credit year).

Granting annual holiday

The employer has the right to decide the time of the employee’s annual holiday. Before deciding the time of the holiday, the employer must, however, explain to the employees or their representatives the general principles observed at the workplace in the granting of annual holidays. The employer must also grant the employees an opportunity to express their views on the matter. The employer must, as far as possible, take the proposals of the employees into consideration and observe impartiality in the timing of the holidays.

A total of 24 weekdays of the annual holiday must be taken in the summer holiday season, which is the period from 2 May to 30 September. The rest of the holiday (winter holiday) must be granted by the start of the following holiday season. Summer holiday and winter holiday must each be granted as uninterrupted periods unless, for work continuity reasons, it is essential to divide the portion of the summer holiday exceeding 12 weekdays into one or more parts.

The timing of the annual holiday must be confirmed no later than one month before the start of the holiday. If it is not possible to give notification one month before, notification of the timing of the holiday must be given at least two weeks before the start of the holiday. The notified timing of the holiday is binding upon the employer. If the employer postpones the annual holiday, the employers is obligated to compensate for any damages caused by this postponement. These damages may be, for example, the costs incurred due to a cancelled holiday trip. In spite of the above, the postponement of the holiday to another date can be mutually agreed upon by the employee and the employer.

Falling ill during the holiday

In the unfortunate event that the employee falls ill during their annual holiday, they have the right, at their request, to have the days when they have been incapacitated for work included in the annual holiday that exceed six holiday days postponed to a later date. Despite the waiting days, employees have the right to a minimum of four weeks of annual holiday if they have accrued at least 24 weekdays of annual holiday in the year the holiday was earned. Instead, if the employee falls ill before the holiday, the holiday must be postponed to a later date.

The right to have the holiday or part of it postponed requires the employee to notify the employer of their incapacity for work before the start of the holiday. The waiting days are calculated per holiday credit year; they can also be accrued on individual days and they do not have to be consecutive. Because of this, employees should immediately notify the employer of illnesses that last less than one week as well.

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