Annual paid leave in Europe - comparison of basic conditions for employees

Contributed by Accace, 18 December, 2019

The holiday season is always a time of year when the annual paid leave gains extra attention, whether it concerns the remaining days off work, the holiday compensation or carrying the days left into the new year. In this article, the labour-law experts from Accace are focusing on general conditions, such as the length and reimbursement of the annual paid leave, additional paid leave and other related matters employees and employers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia may be concerned about.

Vacation leave duration Vacation leave is a reimbursed time spent off work included in the paid annual leave, guaranteed by the local Labour Code and financed by the employer. In most countries the basic duration is 20 working days, but some countries add up to the number based on various criteria. For example, employees in Poland who worked 10 or more years are entitled to 26 days per year, in Slovakia employees above the age of 33 are granted 25 days per year and employees of specific professions in the Czech Republic are given 5 to 8 weeks of leave.

Usually, the minimum duration of one leave should last for 2 weeks, i.e. at least one part of the vacation of the employee must be 12 calendar days long, but most employers are not strict about it.

Vacation leave conditions

In general, all employees are entitled to the annual paid leave, or to the proportionate part of it e.g. during the probation period, but some countries go into more details when it comes to conditions. In the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, employees are entitled to 1 day off work for each month spent in employment after 15 days of work, while in the Republic of Srpska the 1 day off is granted after 30 days of work. In both entities the employees are entitled to the full amount of paid annual leave after 6 months of continuous work. The half-year-long restriction applies also to Croatia, where during that time employees are entitled only to the proportionate amount of leave, and after the 6 months they gain the full extent of the leave. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the annual paid leave is granted after 2 months of continuous employment, while in Serbia it is granted after 1 month. Some of the local labour law legislation allow employees to carry their remaining vacation days into the next year instead of reimbursing their value, but countries such as the Czech Republic and Serbia specify their latest usage by the 30th of June of the following year.

Calculation of the vacation allowance

Vacation allowance is a specific amount of financial means paid to the employees for each day of annual paid leave taken in a calendar year. They are calculated from the 50% of the average wage in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and from the 100% of the average wage in the Republic of Srpska and the remaining 9 countries.

This percentage of income is taken into consideration during the decisive period, which is crucial for calculating the allowance. In Hungary, the decisive period equals to the preceding 2 calendar quarters, while in the other countries it equals to the preceding 1 calendar quarter.

Reimbursement in case of employment termination

When the contract of an employee is terminated, but they did not draw the full amount of their paid annual leave, they are entitled to a monetary compensation from the employer for their remaining vacation days.

On the other hand, when the contract termination concerns an employee who drew more days of their paid annual leave than entitled to, employers in the Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Slovakia are entitled to a reimbursement from the employee for the compensation paid in excess. This is not applicable to employers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Poland, while in Hungary and Slovenia no specific rule applies related to this matter.

Public holidays and their significance

Although public holidays are not part of the paid annual leave, they may add extra days to the time spent off work when not falling on weekly rest days, i.e. weekends, therefore prolonging the leave, which most employees take into consideration when planning their vacation.

There are 10 public holidays in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia, 11 in Hungary and Romania, 12 in the Republic of Srpska and Slovenia, 13 in the Czech Republic and Poland, 14 in Croatia and Russia, and 15 in Slovakia.

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