What are my rights regarding time off and holiday pay?

As a wage earner, you have a legal entitlement to holiday pay from your total wage. The holiday pay is either 12% addition to the pay, which means that you have your holiday without pay or you receive an additional 1.5% in addition to your wage, which entails that you have the right to a paid holiday, however the latter only applies to permanently employed staff.

Everyone has the right to five week’s summer holiday, which must be used in the time period 1 May – 1 October. The specifics regarding when you use your holiday will be determined together with the employer. You do not have the right to spend your holiday in a specific time, however, you have the right to four week’s consecutive holiday in the time period May-October. The employer determines when the holiday is, and the law dictates that this must be done together with the worker. If the employer determines that you must spend your holiday in a specific time, then you must be notified well in advance, i.e., normally no later than 2-3 months before the summer holiday starts.

You have the right to the aforementioned holiday, despite the fact that you have been with the employer for shorter than one year, however, the holiday pay is earned annually, i.e. if you have worked for ½ year, then you will receive a holiday pay, which corresponds to 12% of this wage. The year of earning is, generally, from 1 April – 31 March, however, you may make an agreement with your employer that the year of earning can be the calendar year instead.

If you become sick just before the start of your summer holiday and the illness continues into the holiday, then these days do not count as days of the holiday. In this case you must make an agreement with the employer regarding those days. Normally they are added to the end of the holiday that has already been agreed-upon, in order for you to spend the amount of holiday days that you agreed with the employer. If you are so unfortunate that you become sick after the start of your holiday, then you do not have the right to receive extra days to your holiday because of illness, unless the employer agrees to give you extra days to cover for sick days in your holiday.

An employer is not allowed to demand that you return to work during your holiday. If the worker is fired and the term of notice is not gone by 1 May, the four weeks must be added to the term of notice, because according to the law, the term of notice must not be shortened by adding the holiday (the main summer holiday, which is four weeks) to the term of notice.