22 March 2024

New legislation: ill during vacation days

by Karen Thys

Since January 1, 2024, vacation days during which an employee falls ill can be converted into sick leave. In this case, the employee can reclaim the vacation days that coincide with the period of illness at a later date.


The employee is entitled to guaranteed pay when they are sick and can take the vacation days at a later time (no later than within 24 months after the vacation year).

Example: Employee X enjoys vacation from July 8 to July 21, 2024. Employee X falls ill on July 10, and the illness period extends until July 16. 5 vacation days were scheduled during the illness period. These days will be converted to sick leave. Consequently, Employee X can take these 5 vacation days at a later date. This period of illness does not result in an extension of the planned vacation period. Employee X is expected back at work on Monday, July 22.


Naturally, the employee must inform you about the illness. The existing obligations also apply here (e.g., doctor's certificate). In other words, the employee must inform you immediately of the inability to work. The same applies to the obligation to inform you of the place of residence if the sick employee is staying at a location other than the one known to the employer.

As of the vacation year 2024, there are changes. An employee may take their vacation days up to 24 months after this vacation year if they are unable to take their vacation during the vacation year due to:

  • Work-related accident or occupational illness

  • Accident or illness under common law

  • Maternity or paternity leave

  • Prophylactic leave

  • Adoption leave

  • Foster care leave

  • Foster parent leave

These days will be paid in a lump sum on 31 December of the vacation year in which the employee was unable to take them.

Attachment to labour regulations

The new formalities employees must comply with when illness or an accident occurs during a vacation period must be included in the labour regulations. We have such an attachment available. If you would like to receive a copy, please do not hesitate to request it from us.

For this attachment, the classic procedure of consultation with the employees does not need to be respected.

However, you must:

  • Provide each employee with a copy of the amendment to the labour regulations (with acknowledgment of receipt);

  • And within 8 days of its entry into force, inform the inspection services of this amendment.

Perhaps this is a good time to review the entire labour regulations. As an employer, you are responsible for keeping your labour regulations up to date with current social legislation. Would you like to take action on this? Feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to assist you.

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Do you want to know more or need specialist advice? Don't hesitate to contact one of our specialists.

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Karen Thys

HR Consultant

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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