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Leave and Paid Holidays

The length of the personal holiday is between 25 and 30 days. Frequently there is an increase with age and seniority. In a number of countries incentives are used in order to make workers take their annual holiday in the season with less work.

The number of public holidays varies considerably depending on the tradition of the country or region. In most, but not all, countries employees are paid on public holidays. Sweden and Latvia are countries where there is no work and no payment on such days.

In many countries workers are paid an additional holiday benefit.

The Situation in International Comparison:

Tabelle International Comparison: Leave and Paid Holidays

The Situation in Individual European Countries:

AT: Austria

The holiday length is 30 working days per year based on a 5-day week. There are 14 paid public holidays.


BE: Belgium

The claim to a paid holiday depends on the performance during the previous year. Then the length of the holiday is 20 days per year plus 10 public holidays. If a public holiday is a Sunday the worker is entitled to another day off. If an employee works on a public holiday he is entitled to an additional holiday. The claim to wage payment and to an additional holiday benefit has to be addressed to a holiday fund.


BG: Bulgaria

According to the labour legislation the duration of the holiday is 26 days.


CH: Switzerland

The duration of the holiday is 4 weeks in a number of cantons, 5 weeks for workers over 50.

Public holidays: In most cantons work on public holidays is allowable without any bonus. Some cantons have 1 national holiday (August 1, national holiday) and usually 8 or 9 cantonal holidays (100 % bonus or compensation by extra time off).


CY: Cyprus

The annual holiday is 20 days with a 5-day week, or 24 days with a 6-day week. There are 14-17 public holidays.


CZ: Czech Republic

Workers get 20 holidays (4 weeks with a 5-day week) and 12 paid public holidays per year. In a samll number of collective agreements additional holidays or additional holiday benefits have been agreed.


DE: Germany

The German federal states decide on public holidays at the regional as far as they are church holidays. Therefore the number of paid holidays varies widely between the regions (from 8 to 10 days).


DK: Denmark

5 annual holidays have been agreed for every working day/week. Given a 6-day week that means 30 working days off per year. Wage payment continues, with a 12.5 % holiday bonus. 5 days of unpaid leave are possible.


EE: Estonia

The length of the holiday is 28 working days. Public holidays are not paid.


ES: Spain

Workers who are employed throughout the year are legally entitled to 30 holidays per year (including Saturdays and Sundays). The collective agreement has laid down 22 working days, not including Saturdays and Sundays. There are 12 national and 2 regional public holidays.


FI: Finland

Holidays are governed by the law. Workers' holidays are between 24 and 30 working days, depending on the duration of their employment. A week has 6 working days. The payment that the worker receives is the personal average weekly wage divided by 6 without bonuses. If the worker returns to work on the 1st day after the holiday he or she receives a bonus amounting to 50 % of the holiday payment. The unions managed to negotiate an additional holiday week in winter for the agricultural sector.


FR: France

Workers get 30 holidays if the annual working time is over 1,807 h. In addition there are 10 public holidays (paid).


GB: United Kingdom

Two weeks in the first year, 4 weeks plus one day after the first year. There are 8 public holidays.


GR: Greece

The length of the holiday is 20 days with a 5-day week, and 24 days with a 6-day week. After the first year of employment the length of the holiday is 22, and 26 days, respectively.


HR: Croatia

4 weeks of paid holidays are granted per year.


HU: Hungary

The length of the basic holiday is 20 days, which increases in steps between the age of 25 and 45 until it is 30 days. The law defines the number of paid public holidays, a maximum of 10 days per year.


IE: Ireland

Workers are entitled to 20 holidays per year plus 9 public holidays. A worker working on a public holiday gets an additional day off or an additional daily wage. If a public holiday is on a day when the worker does not work the worker is entitled to one fifth of the normal weekly wage.


IS: Iceland

The minimum holiday is 24 working days. Holiday payment is 10.17 % (on the basis of the monthly wage). Outside the summer season a 25 % bonus is paid, and in winter 5 weeks of holidays are allowed. Between May and September 4 weeks of holidays must be allowed.

After 5 years of work in one company the worker is entitled to 25 working days and to 10.64 % of holiday payment. After 10 years workers are allowed 28 working days and 12.07 % of bonus payment.


IT: Italy

Holidays: 26 working days, 13 public holidays.

A 13th and 14th monthly wage are paid in June and December.


LT: Lithuania

After 6 months of employment the length of the annual holiday is 28 calendar days. Public holidays are not paid.


LU: Luxembourg

The labour law provides for 25 paid holidays per year and 10 paid public holidays. Collective agreements lay down more than 25 holidays and additional days off for special occasions, such as family events.

Additional payments are laid down in collective agreements, such as: holiday benefit, 13th monthly wage, profit sharing bonuses, seniority bonuses, bonuses for temporary work, performance bonuses, presence bonuses, etc.


LV: Latvia

The length of the annual holidays is 28 days. The trade unions are demanding extra holidays, e. g. 2 - 6 days for hard work.


MT: Malta

The length of the holiday is 25 days, and there are 14 public holidays. When a public holiday is on a weekend the workers are entitled to another holiday.


NL: Netherlands

5 weeks / 25 days have been agreed. Workers over 57 years get one annual holiday extra. After 10 years in one company workers get one extra holiday, after 20 years two extra holidays per year. For special occasions (e. g. birth of a child, death of a close relative) and situations (family care leave) there are special provisions.


NO: Norway

The law lays down 25 days for 4 weeks. The collective agreement is 5 weeks/30 days. A holiday benefit of 10.2 % of the average monthly wage is paid, or 11 % for workers covered by a collective agreement. This is financed by a special fund.


PL: Poland

The holiday duration is 20 working days for persons in their first ten years of working life, and after more than 10 years of work it is 26 working days.

The duration of working life includes vocational training in vocational schools, grammar schools and universities up to a maximum of 8 years. Employers must pay workers during their holidays.


PT: Portugal

The holiday duration is 22 working days. If the holiday is taken in winter the worker gets 2 extra days. There are 14 public holidays in the working week as well as Easter Sunday.


RO: Romania

The minimum holiday duration is 21 working days. No separate holiday benefit is paid.


SE: Sweden

25 holidays in 5 weeks have been agreed. Holiday benefit payment: monthly wage x 0.8 % multiplied by the number of days plus an additional payment of 12 % of the monthly wage. If workers are paid by hours there are no paid public holidays. In summer the workers have to be allowed a 3-week holiday in one block.


SI: Slovenia

The length of the annual holiday is 20 days, a week counting as 5 days. After 10 years of work an employees gets two additional holidays. Special days off are granted for family events.

There are 12 public holidays.


SK: Slovakia

The annual holiday is 25 days plus 15 paid public holidays. During the holidays payment of the average wage continues.


TR: Turkey

Working life 1 - 5 years: 14 days; 5 - 15 years: 20 days; over 15 years: 26 days of annual holiday.

State companies pay a holiday allowance, for private companies holiday allowance is governed by collective agreements.

13 paid public holidays for trade union members.