By law, an employee working 40 hours per week is entitled to 192 hours of paid annual leave (that is at least the equivalent in hours of four (4) weeks and four (4) working days calculated on the basis of a 40-hour working week, and an 8-hour working day). If the average normal hours (excluding overtime) calculated over a period of 17 weeks is below or exceeds 40 hours per week, the vacation leave entitlement in hours should be adjusted accordingly. (see L.N. 247 of 2003 - Organisation of Working Time Regulations).
Vacation leave starts to accumulate as from commencement of employment. It can be availed of in agreement between the employer and the employee. When an employee is in employment for less than 12 months, s/he shall be entitled to a proportionate amount of annual leave. Leave has to be availed of in agreement with the employer. The application for leave has to be approved by the employer before an employee can proceed with leave.
By mutual agreement with the employer, leave can be taken in hours. Otherwise, if there is no agreement between the employer and the employee, leave has to be availed of as a whole day.
Annual leave which is not availed of
The law specifies that a minimum period equivalent to four weeks (160 hours) cannot be replaced by any allowance, except where the worker’s employment is terminated. Therefore in respect of the 160 hours that cannot be compensated for, the employee cannot claim payment. It is only possible to carry forward up to 50% of the annual leave entitlement to the following year if there is an agreement with the employer.
If the employer refuses to grant the statutory vacation leave, the employee should lodge a claim with the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations for an evaluation of the case and possible court action to be taken against the employer. The Department will usually ask the court to decree that any unavailed of vacation leave should be compensated by the employer. However, there always exist the possibility for the employer to agree with the employee to carry forward up to 50% of the annual leave entitlement to the following year.
Upon termination from employment, an employee has the right to claim financial compensation for any balance of outstanding leave that is due.