What are the rules for taking leave in 2024?

The holiday season is approaching. But you may be spoiling your vision of lounging on the beach by wondering how much holiday you’re actually entitled to and whether your boss will let you go at a time that suits you. What are the rules for taking holiday this year, how is it calculated and when can your boss restrict you from taking it?

matka tráví dovolenou se svou dcerou, čerpání dovolené
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If you are in a traditional employment relationship, you are guaranteed at least four weeks’ holiday per year. However, most employers currently provide five weeks’ holiday (or more); civil servants and other selected groups are guaranteed this directly by the Labour Code. Teaching staff are entitled to eight weeks’ leave.

Employees may be entitled to:

  • annual leave or a pro rata part thereof,
  • leave for days worked, or
  • additional leave (applies only to certain employees).

Agreements on work performed outside the employment relationship, i.e. agreements on the performance of work and agreements on work activity, are also covered by the statutory regulation from 2023. The terms and conditions are the same as for employment under a principal employment relationship. In order to qualify, the employee must work at least four times his or her weekly working time, which is 20 hours per week for agreements. The second condition is that the agreement must last at least 4 weeks. This also applies to agreements that are directly linked to each other.

Hint: We have discussed both the employment agreement and the work performance agreement, including the possibility of enshrining the right to leave, in our separate article.

Annual leave

The above weekly holiday allowances are payable to employees who have been employed for at least one year and have worked at least 60 days in that year. As from 2021, the holiday allowance is now given in hours. Full-time employees are therefore entitled to a minimum of 160 hours of annual leave. If you take a week’s holiday, you will have 5 x 8 hours deducted if you work full-time, i.e. 40 hours of holiday. And if you only work 20 hours a week, then a week of holiday means you get 5 x 4 hours, or 20 hours of holiday out of a total of 80 hours of holiday per year.

Calculating holiday by the hour may at first sight appear to be a significant change from the way it used to be, but for most ‘classic’ employees – those who work full time and normal shifts– taking holiday will make virtually no difference. The changes are more likely to be felt by those with unevenly distributed working hours or shifts of varying length. Previously, it may have been advantageous to take leave for a ‘long’ shift, but this advantage has now been removed.

Tip: Read about how company leave works and what restrictions your employer must follow.

Proportionate part of leave

If your employment with one employer is for less than a full year, you are only entitled to a proportion of your holiday, which is 1/52 of the total holiday for each week worked.

For example, if you work for an employer who gives you four weeks’ holiday a year for 30 weeks, you will be entitled to 93 hours’ holiday:

  • First, find the number of hours of leave (multiply the weekly hours by the number of weeks of leave): 40 × 4 = 160,
  • divide the result by 52 to find how many hours of holiday per week the employee is entitled to if he works the whole year: 160 / 52 = 3.07,
  • finally, multiply the result by the actual number of weeks worked: 3.07 × 30 = 92.1.

The incomplete hours are rounded up to give 93 hours of holiday entitlement.

Holiday for days worked

If you do not meet the condition for entitlement to annual leave or a pro rata part of it, i.e. working 60 days, the Labour Code regulates the granting of leave for days worked. The condition for entitlement to annual leave is that you have worked at least 21 days. For every 21 days worked, the employee is entitled to one-twelfth of the annual leave.

An employee may therefore be entitled to annual leave in the amount of one or two-twelfths of the annual leave (for at least 21 or 42 days’ work), but if he works a further 21 days, the number of days worked would already exceed 60 and he would be entitled to annual leave or a pro rata part thereof.

Do you think your employer has not calculated your holiday correctly?

Finding out exactly what you are entitled to as an employee may not be easy. If you think your employer has not calculated your holiday pay correctly, consult a lawyer and don’t let your rights be taken away.

Additional leave

Employees who work in difficult conditions, such as miners or emergency workers, are entitled to an extra week of leave, known as additional leave.

Reduction of leave

In the past, the length of leave was reduced if the employee had a long excused absence from work. Now, according to the Labour Code, maternity leave, sick leave, nursing leave, etc. also count as work, but not more than 20 weeks. It is important to note, however, that this option will only be available to employees who have worked for the employer for at least 12 times the weekly working time, which is equivalent to 480 hours.

So when is holiday time reduced? If you are on parental leave or sick leave for a whole year, you are not entitled to any holiday. If you are on parental leave or sick leave for part of the year and work for at least 12 weeks, then you are entitled to at least 32/52 weeks’ leave (12 or more weeks’ work + 20 weeks’ sick leave or holiday credit).

In the event of unexcused absence from work, leave may be reduced by one day for each shift so missed.

Tip: Flight cancellations can make holidays unpleasant. Learn what your rights are.

Who decides on the use of leave?

The length of your leave is guaranteed by law, but your employer has the final say on exactly when you take it. It should decide when you take your leave so that you take as much of it as possible in the year in which you are entitled.

In practice, of course, it is not usually the case that your employer will come to you and tell you to go on holiday from 1 to 14 August. On the contrary, employees come up with suggestions for dates to suit their needs. However, the employer has the final say, so you may not get approval for a holiday on a date for which you have already bought a package.

The only case where you do not need your employer’s approval to take leave is when you take leave immediately after maternity leave. In this case, the employee is only giving notice that she will be taking ordinary leave immediately after maternity leave.

Tip: We have covered the rules for taking maternity leave in our separate article.

Leave during probationary period

The use of probationary leave is a specific case. If you start with a new employer on 1 July or, conversely, around Christmas, when leave is most often taken, you should negotiate this option carefully with the employer and be sure to try to make some concessions to your normal entitlements.

Theprobationary period is primarily for getting to know each other between the employee and the employer, so it is not very common for an employee to take leave during the first 3 months in a new job. If you join an employer with a request for leave taken in the second month of the probationary period, the employer will probably not comply. Especially as you probably won’t even be entitled to it yet. On the other hand, the Labour Code does not restrict you from taking leave in this way and does not lay down any rules other than those that apply outside the probationary period. However, the probationary period is also extended by a full day’s leave.

It is therefore up to the employer whether or not to allow you to take your leave during the probationary period. If you are indeed joining a new employer in the summer months, try to enjoy your leave in the previous months. Taking unpaid leave may also be an option for you.

Tip: Find out more about how sick or probationary leave works in our article.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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