Here come the holidays!

Holiday sunset at beach with palm tree

(But am I getting paid for it?)

All workers in Belgium are entitled to a number of legal holidays. So do you as a temporary worker. But how and under what conditions are you compensated for those holidays? We explain the main rules.

What holidays are we talking about?

Unfortunately, your birthday or the local fair are not on the official holiday calendar. There are a total of 10 legal holidays that you can check off in your calendar each year:

As a temporary worker, when am I entitled to be paid for a holiday?

Broadly speaking, there are three situations in which you, as a temporary worker, may be entitled to be paid for a holiday: a holiday that falls during a contract, a holiday that falls in between contracts and a holiday that takes place after a contract.

  1. A holiday that falls during a contract

If the holiday falls during the work week, you will be paid anyway. If it falls on a Sunday or on another fixed business closing day (usually a Saturday), then this holiday is moved to another day. If you are still under contract at that time, you too will enjoy this holiday.

In addition, the temporary worker is also entitled to remuneration for public holidays that fall within a period of interruption between two temporary assignments, provided that such assignments are carried out with the same user and that these two assignments are only interrupted by the public holiday itself, possibly combined with days on which it is not usually worked in the company (e.g. weekend days).

Thus, a temporary work agency may not interrupt your contract for just the duration of a holiday without paying you for it.

For example, did you work until October 31 and get a new contract starting November 2nd? Then you get the 1st of November reimbursed. If you do not return to work until November 3rd, the holiday will not be paid.

If you find yourself out of work after a contract ends, in some cases you are entitled to payment for a holiday or compensation day. This depends on the length of your prior assignment.

What compensation can I count on?

The compensation you receive for a holiday or replacement day is equal to the pay you would normally have received for a regular working day. In addition, as a temporary employee, you will be paid a “recovery day” for a holiday worked. In practice, this means that for work on a holiday, you will receive at least 200% of your normal pay. “At least?” Yes, because some companies or collective bargaining agreements still provide for an additional allowance on top.

Who pays for this holiday?

The temporary work agency hires you for the duration of the assignment. By doing so, it acts as your employer and thus will also pay the holiday. Note: the temporary work agency will often recover the costs of a known absence (e.g. a holiday) from the client, but you don’t have to worry about that.

Not entitled to a paid holiday? Then, as a job seeker, you will receive unemployment compensation from the National Employment Office.