Public holiday

The public holidays are a day off for most people. The fact that these days are nationally recognised holidays does not mean that you are always entitled to a day off. Many employers give their employees days off on public holidays, but what if they don’t?

There is no law stating that you are obliged to have a day off on recognised public holidays. Employers often specify in their employment contract or in the collective labour agreement on which days you, as an employee, are free. It may also be the case that an employee receives an allowance for working on a public holiday. These recognised days off will therefore not be deducted from your regular holiday balance.

If this is not included in the employment contract or collective agreement, the employer can oblige you to work. If you still want a day off and you request it from the employer, the employer will give you the day off as a good employer. The employer may only make you work if there is a valid reason for refusing to do so.

Leave for religious reasons outside of Christian holidays

As Christian holidays are leading for some holidays, it may be that you prefer to exchange these days if you follow a different faith. There are no agreements on this in the law, so discuss this well with your employer if there are no agreements on this in the collective agreement or employment contract. For example, you can swap the days with each other.

What are the official public holidays in the Netherlands?

  • New Year’s Day; Saturday 1 January 2022
  • Good Friday; Friday 15 April 2022
  • Easter; Sunday 17 and Monday 18 April 2022
  • King’s Day; Wednesday 27 April 2022
  • Liberation Day; Thursday 5 May 2022
  • Ascension day; Thursday, 26 May 2022
  • Pentecost; Sunday 5 June and Monday 6 June 2022
  • Christmas: Sunday 25 and Monday 26 December 2022


Although Liberation Day is an official holiday, it may be the case that employers or collective labour agreements have indicated that you will only have time off in lustrum years. This means that you only have time off every 5 years. The last lustrum year was 2020 and the next one will be in 2025.

So what are mandatory days off?

In principle, an employer cannot determine when an employee must take leave (Article 7:638 of the Civil Code). However, an employer may designate days as mandatory days off. However, this must be agreed in the employment contract or collective agreement. It is therefore important that you are aware of your rights and obligations. There is no legal maximum for the number of days off which the employer can allocate. The mandatory days off do have an influence on your balance of regular holiday days.

More information or questions?

Are things still unclear or would you like to seek advice? Feel free to contact one of our advisers.

T. (Tevan) Aveloo Rodrigues

Salary Administrator (present: mo. to fr.)

+31 (0)15 820 00 48

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