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Gelske M. Speerstra, LL.M.

All employers will be confronted with sickness absenteeism of employees at some stage. Under Dutch law, employees accrue holidays during sickness absence. However, in certain cases, (part of) the days the employees are absent due to illness can be deducted from holiday.

Holiday exceeding the statutory minimum
Holiday days may only be deducted from the days exceeding the statutory minimum and not from the statutory holidays. The number of statutory holidays equals four times the number of the employee’s weekly working hours. An employee working full time with 25 holidays therefore has 20 statutory holiday days and 5 days exceeding the statutory minimum. Sick days may only be deducted from the 5 days exceeding the statutory minimum.

Including the deduction in employment contract
In addition, it is required that a deduction from holidays must be clearly agreed upon in the employment contract. If it is not included in the employment contract that sick days are deducted from holidays, sick days can only be deducted with the employees’ consent. Obviously, it is not likely that an employee is willing to consent to this. If an employer wants to deduct sick days from the holidays, it is therefore recommended to include this in the employment contract.

In addition to deducting sick days from the holidays exceeding the statutory minimum employers can limit the risk of (long-term) sickness absence of their employees in different ways, for instance, by introducing a sound sickness absence policy. Russell Advocaten gladly provides advice on such a policy.