- 05 Jul 2012
Workers who are starting their careers or who are restarting their activities after a long time off, are entitled to additional holidays after an introductory period of three months.
The new regime of yearly holidays, the so-called "additional holidays", as provided for in the Royal Decree of 19 June 2012, finally brings Belgian legislation on employees' annual holiday entitlement into line with European Law.
Until now, employees in the private sector were only entitled to four weeks of holidays after they had worked a full year. This is not the case anymore.
Employees who were never or only partly subject to the coordinated Acts regarding the yearly holidays, such as persons who had just started working in the private sector or just restarted their activities after a long time off (e.g. after a career break) will, from now on, be entitled to holidays in their first working year, via the regime of the additional holidays.
In practice it means that additional holidays and holiday pay will be granted to the employee at his/her request:
- when he/she has already taken all holidays that were granted on basis of the current law;
- when all periods of work or assimilated periods during the same calendar year amount to at least three months, consecutive or not ("introductory period"). After this introductory period, white-collar employees will be entitled to one week of holidays. Afterwards they will build up two days additional holiday per worked or assimilated month (in a six-day regime). For blue-collar employees, the number of additional holidays is in proportion with the number of effectively worked or assimilated days during the current year.
The employee will receive holiday pay that is equal to his/her regular salary. The holiday pay will be financed through a deduction from the double holiday pay of the next year or the subsequent years if necessary. Given that the additional holiday pay is financed with the double holiday pay of the subsequent year (or subsequent years), the employer contribution doesn't have to be paid. The special employee contribution on the other hand must be paid.
The Royal Decree enters into force on 1 April 2012 and will, for the first time, be applicable to the holidays that will be taken in 2012.
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New employees and employees who restart their activities will also be entitled to holidays.