Here come the holidays!
(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:
- January 1: New Year’s Day
- April 10, 2023: Easter Monday
- May 1: Labor Day
- May 18, 2023: Ascension Day
- May 29, 2023: Whit Monday
- July 21: National holiday
- Aug. 15: Assumption of Mary
- November 1: All Saints’ Day
- November 11: Armistice Day
- December 25: Christmas Day
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.
- 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.
- A holiday in between contracts
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.
- A holiday after a temporary contract
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.
- At the end of a contract (or short consecutive contracts), have you worked less than 15 days as an temporary worker? Then you are not entitled to a paid holiday.
- Did you work 15 days to a month as a temporary worker? Then you are entitled to a paid holiday if it falls within 14 calendar days of your last contract.
- Did you work as a temporary worker for more than a month? Then you will receive pay for all holidays that fall within 30 calendar days of the end of your last contract.
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.