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As a temporary worker, are you entitled to public holidays?

Have you ever wondered what the rules are for holidays when you work as a temporary employee? It is not always that simple. That is why we would like to summarize these rules.

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General principle

There are 10 public holidays per year. In principle, the employee will not work on these public holidays, but will be paid by the employer.

The 10 statutory public holidays established in Belgium are as follows:

  • 1 January (New Year)
  • Easter Monday
  • 1 May (Labour Day)
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Monday
  • 21 July (National Holiday)
  • 15 August (Assumption Day)
  • 1 November (All Saints Day)
  • 11 November (Armistice Day)
  • 25 December (Christmas Day)

As a temporary employee, you are also entitled to these public holidays under certain conditions. We explain the conditions below.

The public holiday falls during your agency work employment contract

As a temporary worker you are entitled to pay for all public holidays that fall during your employment contract. If you work part-time, you are entitled to the paid public holiday if you would normally have worked on that day.

The public holiday falls between 2 temporary employment contracts

If the public holiday falls on the only day between two contracts, you are entitled to the public holiday on condition that it concerns two contracts with the same user.

The public holiday falls after the end of your agency contract

In some cases you are also entitled to payment for public holidays which fall after the end of your assignment. Whether you are entitled depends on the duration of your agency work, also called your seniority.

  • Less than 15 days of seniority? Then unfortunately you are not entitled to a paid holiday.
  • 15 days to one month seniority? Then you are entitled to 1 paid public holiday that falls within 14 calendar days of your last contract.
  • More than one month seniority? Then you are entitled to all paid public holidays that fall within 30 calendar days after your last contract.

How exactly do you calculate this seniority?

You can calculate your seniority by adding up all the days for which you have a contract. It does not matter whether it is one or more contracts: day contracts, weekly contracts or contracts for longer periods. If you have consecutive contracts (only interrupted by the weekend), then Saturday and Sunday also count. It is important that your contract was not interrupted by a period of one week or more (more than 7 calendar days). In that case your seniority will lapse.

What about alternative holidays?

A public holiday that falls on the weekend is moved to another date in every company. As a temporary worker you follow the regulations that apply within the company you work for. If the public holiday can be recuperated freely, then as a temporary worker you are also free to take it. If the public holiday is on a different day (e.g. a bridging day), you are also entitled to this public holiday if the date it is moved falls within your contract.

Please note: in some cases, you are no longer entitled to a public holiday. This is the case when you:

  • were absent unlawfully on the day before or after the public holiday.
  • were dismissed for serious misconduct.
  • In the meantime, you are working for another employer. In that case it is the latter who will pay for the holiday.

The temporary employment agency, as the legal employer, always takes care of the payment of your holidays. If you still have questions about this, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to provide you with additional information!

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Heidi Vergauwe

Dedicated and meticulous Payroll & HR Advisor, always willing to go for the extra (s)mile!