What does the Dutch Legislation of 2012 entail?

Dutch Legislation of 2012

The Dutch government is convinced taking days off regularly, and going on a holiday, improves the safety and health of employees. (recuperation effect of holidays)

This new legislation causes leave to expire 6 months after the end of the fiscal year. This should stimulate employees to regularly take the minimum legal days off (which is a total of 20 days in case of a full-time job) over the course of the fiscal year, and half a year after that. This new legislation, causes two major changes:

1. Statutory and exceeding statutory leave

Putting off holiday for too long can endanger the employee’s health and safety, so this legislation ensures that the employee has to use the statutory leave days (20 in case of a full-time job), within the given 18 months. The expiry date is exactly 6 months after the last day of the fiscal year. This legislation does not apply to employees who have not been able to take up that much leave with good reason (for example: medical reasons).

Employers and employees can come to an agreement to extend the expiry date. Keep into account that the exceeding statutory days have an expiry period of 5 years. The system will make sure that the leave that expires first, will be taken up first too. This to be sure that no leave will expire unnecessarily.
Leavedays that were entitled to the employee, based on the previous legislation, will still have the original 5 year expiry date. This means that the statutory leave based on the legislation of 2012 will expire earlier than the leave based on the previous legislation, so for example, leave from 2011.
This new legislation does not apply to people who were not able to take up all of the statutory leave, when this was prohibited by the actions of the employer. This means that if leave was to expire even though the employee wanted to take up leave, the remainder of the statutory leave will remain available for 5 years.

2. Leave entitlement in case of illness.

First of all, the distinction in leave entitlement that was applied to an employee when they were sick will be abolished. In other words: the rule that leave days have a limited build up in the last 6 months of one’s illness is no longer applicable. The government’s idea is that everybody has to enjoy the time off for holidays. This should also include the recovering employee who wants to re-integrate. When the ill re-integrating employee wants to be exempted from his/her duties of re-integration, s/he will have to use leave days for that. The expiry date for leave applies to both the healthy as well as ill employees, with the condition that they were in the position to take up these leave days.

“Being in the position of” is a loose term, that has to be used loosely not only in the case of illness, but also for other situations. By now it has become apparent that the government wants you to look at every situation individually, taking the circumstances into account. If employees that have a longterm absence due to illness have no re-integration duties, due to medical reasons, then they won’t be in the position of taking up their statutory leave. As a company, or employee, you can always consult the company’s doctor.

The employees who are absent on a longterm basis due to illness who do have re-intergration duties, should have been in the position to take up leave, so the government urges that they do so.


This new legislation is not retroactive, meaning that all the current rules and regulations apply with all the leave that has been accrued up to december 31st 2011.

Read more about implementing this leave legislation into the Leavedays application.