lost employee holiday entitlements: when do you have to pay them out?

Business Solutions
15 December 2022

by Gill Hoef

Lost employee holiday entitlements: when do you have to pay them out?

In principle, all employees must take all their statutory holiday days before the end of the year. If they fail to do so, they lose those days. The days that they do not take must not be transferred or paid out. But what if an employee was unable to take all of his or her holiday days because of certain circumstances? With this article, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that some employees have a right to a ‘December Scheme’.

Lost employee holiday entitlements: when do you have to pay them out?

If an employee’s working hours were reduced in the last year, because of, for example, time credit, parental leave, medical assistance leave, etc., then the employer is obliged to pay out the lost holiday entitlements in December  along with the salary.


Imagine that an employee has worked for years full-time (38 hrs per, 5 days per week) for the company in the course of his career. Since 1st April, the employee has been taking parental leave for 8.5 months. From January up to and including March, the employee has not taken any [holiday] leave.

In the following December, there is consequently a December settlement. The employee has a right to 10 holiday days from 1st April, because one can never take more leave than the work regime in which one works (in this case, 19 hrs instead of 38 hrs, even though he built up the maximum number of days, namely 20). The double holiday pay in the month of May or June is based on the half-time pay, while the employee actually has a right to ‘full-time’ double holiday pay. 

Do you think that the employees in your company have a right to a December settlement? If you have any questions, you can always contact one of our experts.

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Gill Hoef

Advisor Payroll gill.hoef@vdl.be

In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.

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