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To which forms of leave are you entitled?

Holiday leave

The law provides that all employees are entitled to leave equalling at least four times the agreed weekly working time or, if the agreed working time is expressed in hours per year, at least an equivalent period of time. See Section 7:634 of the Dutch Civil Code. This adds up to 20 days’ holiday per year for employees working full-time (40 hours) per week, throughout the year. These 20 days’ holiday are referred to as statutory annual leave.

The Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers grants employees more days’ holiday than the statutory minimum. In the case of full-time employment, this concerns 5 additional days’ holiday per year. These days are referred to as days’ holiday over and above the statutory minimum. See Article 26 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers: for each full working month worked, employees are entitled to 16 2/3 hours of holiday, or a proportional number of hours if they have not worked the full working month. For full-time employees, this adds up to 25 days’ holiday per year.

Expiry of holidays

To the extent possible, days’ holiday must be taken in the calendar year in which the holiday entitlement is accrued. For employees with a Phase A or Phase B agency work employment contract, statutory annual leave expires at the end of the calendar year following the year in which the holiday entitlement is accrued. See Article 26(3) of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers. To illustrate: holiday entitlement accrued in 2022 will lapse on 1 January 2024.

Days’ holiday over and above the statutory minimum expire five years after the calendar year in which the holiday entitlement is accrued. An example: an employee accrues 4 days’ holiday over and above the statutory minimum in 2022. These must be taken before 1 January 2028. Please note: for employees who work on the basis of a Phase C agency work employment contract, all days’ holiday (both statutory days’ holiday and days’ holiday over and above the statutory minimum) are subject to a five-year expiry period.

Public Holidays

Pursuant to Article 27 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers, in certain cases, employees are entitled to continued payment of wages during public holidays. This means that continued payment of wages only applies:

  • For the public holidays as referred to in Article 27;
  • If the relevant public holiday would normally be a working day for the employee.

Maternity leave

Pursuant to Section 3:1 of the Dutch Work and Care Act [Wet arbeid en zorg], female employees who are due to give birth are entitled to maternity leave.

Short-term absence

Pursuant to Article 28 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers, employees are entitled to short-term absence. Short-term absence is defined as absence for a reasonable period of time during which the temporary agency worker is unable to work. This may be due to:

  • unforeseen circumstances that require immediate interruption of work,
  • having to comply with an obligation imposed by law or an authority, without any financial compensation, which obligation cannot be complied with in the temporary agency worker’s own time (example: the employee only being able to vote during work time)
  • very special personal circumstances (such as the death of a partner)

Birth leave

Section 4:2 of the Dutch Work and Care Act [Wet arbeid en zorg] prescribes that, after the employee’s spouse or registered partner, the person with whom the employee cohabits without being married, or the person whose child the employee acknowledges as his own has given birth, the employee is entitled to paid birth leave for a period equalling one working week, to be taken over the course of four weeks. The four-week term starts on the first day after the birth.

Short-term care leave

Pursuant to Section 5:1 of the Dutch Work and Care Act [Wet arbeid en zorg], employees are entitled to leave for required care in connection with illness of a parent, partner or child.

Special leave

Pursuant to Article 28 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers, employees are entitled to special leave. This is the case in the following situations:

  • official notice of an intended marriage
  • marriage or registered partnership
  • marriage or registered partnership of the temporary agency worker’s child, grandchild, sibling or parents
  • death of the temporary agency worker’s partner or child
  • death of the temporary agency worker’s sibling, parents, grandparents or grandchild
  • 12.5-year, 25-year and 40-year wedding anniversary
  • 25-year and 40-year service anniversary
  • 25-year, 40-year, 50-year, 60-year and 70-year wedding anniversary of the temporary agency worker’s parents and grandparents
  • the temporary agency worker having to sit an exam or professional examination for an accredited diploma.

An employment relationship (contract) ends. Below are the rules that apply to the employer and the employee.

Probationary period

Pursuant to Article 13 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers, a probationary period clause can only be included in a fixed-term agency work employment contract without an agency clause if the term for which it is entered into exceeds six months. If, after an interruption of one year or less, a subsequent fixed-term agency work employment contract without an agency clause is entered into, a probationary period clause cannot be included again. A probationary period can, however, be agreed upon again if the work to be performed under the new contract clearly requires different skills or clearly involves different responsibilities.

Agency clause

Pursuant to Article 15 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers, an agency work employment contract with an agency clause will end:

  • by operation of law if – for whatever reason – the user company is no longer willing or able to hire the temporary agency worker.
  • if – for whatever reason, including incapacity for work – the temporary agency worker is no longer willing or able to perform the agreed work. In the event that the temporary agency worker becomes incapacitated for work, an agency work employment contract with an agency clause will be considered to have been terminated, on the user company’s request, with effect from the moment the temporary agency worker calls in sick.

In the event of termination of an agency work employment contract regarding a posting that has lasted for more than 26 weeks worked, the private employment agency will be obliged to give the temporary agency worker notice at least 10 calendar days before the termination. This does not apply if the temporary agency worker becomes incapacitated for work. Failure to observe the notice period, or observe it in full, will result in the private employment agency being liable to pay the temporary agency worker compensation that is equal to the wage the temporary agency worker would have earned during the notice period that the private employment agency failed to observe, unless the private employment agency offers the temporary agency worker suitable work during that period.

Temporary agency workers must submit a request to terminate their agency work employment contract to the private employment agency at least one working day in advance.

Early termination by the employee

Pursuant to Article 15 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers, temporary agency workers and private employment agencies can terminate a fixed-term agency work employment contract without an agency clause at all times, with effect from the next working day, and with due observance of a statutory notice period in accordance with Section 7:672 of the Dutch Civil Code, unless this has specifically been excluded in the agency work employment contract in writing. If the term of the agency work employment contract is shorter than the statutory notice period, early termination will not be possible under any circumstances.

In derogation from the above, the temporary agency worker can terminate the agency work employment contract without agency clause with immediate effect if the private employment agency relies on exclusion of continued payment of wages.

Notice period

Pursuant to Article 15 of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for Temporary Agency Workers, an open-ended agency work employment contract without an agency clause can be terminated with effect from the next working day, and with due observance of the statutory notice period.

Rules of dismissal

The rules that apply to the employer and the employee upon termination of an employment agreement can be found in Book 7, Title 10, Part 9 (Section 667 – 686a) of the Dutch Civil Code.

Expiry period

Pursuant to Section 7:686a(4)(a) of the Dutch Civil Code, the authority to submit a petition to the subdistrict court lapses two months after the day on which the employment agreement ends.