That’s what John decided more than a year ago. He wants to discover Belgium from July 2022… He works 40 hours a week and gets 25 days off per year. So John is already making plans to enjoy the Burgundian lifestyle for three months.

But how many days can he take off?

We split the holidays into statutory and non-statutory.

John is entitled to a statutory holiday of at least four times the number of hours he works per week. These hours must be taken every year, but at the latest before 1 July of the following year. He must be given the opportunity to take the holiday in this period.

The 160 statutory holiday hours that John has accrued in 2021 expire on 1 July 2022.

After 1 July 2022, he can only use the statutory holiday hours of 2022 and decides that he only wants to explore the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium.

What happens if the statutory holidays are not taken on time by John?

The law states the following in this respect:

Time limit for taking statutory holidays

Section 7:640a of the Dutch Civil Code (which entered into force on 1 January 2012) states that the entitlement to the statutory holidays lapses six months after the last day of the calendar year in which the entitlement was acquired, unless the employee was not reasonably able to take a vacation until that time.

With this, the legislator wanted to bring Dutch law in line with Article 7 of the Directive 2003/88/EC concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Schultz-Hoff1 judgment.

This means, on July 1, 2022, Johns legally accrued vacation days of 2021 will expire.

Do these days automatically expire?

This only happens if the employer has taken the following actions:

  • John has been given timely written notice that the vacation days will expire on July 1.
  • John has been given the opportunity to take these days.
  • John regularly receives an overview of the reserved vacation days (for example, on the pay slip)

If John can prove that he was not given the opportunity to take the vacation days, the vacation days will not expire.

Can John go to Belgium for only 4 weeks?

Fortunately, John also has 5 days of holiday above the statutory entitlement every year. These are the extra days in addition to the 20 statutory days that he has already received. These extra non-statutory days only expire after 5 years.

John is also going to the Ardennes!

Because it turns out that he still has 15 days above the statutory entitlement and he is using them for a survival trip.

Do vacation days also lapse in case of occupational disability?

If John is totally unfit for work and unable to take vacations they will not lapse.

However, the following rule must be observed here:

Employees who are fully unfit for work must, however, if possible be available to perform other suitable work, or they must cooperate with the efforts aimed at reintegration. In that case, they will also be given the opportunity to take the statutory vacation days. This means that if an employee is partially employed, the statutory vacation days will also lapse as of July 1.

And why does John only want to go to Belgium in July?

Well… that’s because his partner in crime is tied to the Belgian school holidays…  

Questions about a sabbatical? Get in touch with us!

Do you have any questions about this topic? Feel free to contact one of the AAme advisors.

E. (Ilse) Overvest

Salary Administrator (present: mo. to th.)

+31 (0)15 820 00 68

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