Changes in rules for taking and carrying forward holiday

This issue of our newsletter brings more details about the planned changes relating to taking and carrying forward holiday. Current rules governing carrying forward unused leave from one calendar year to another allow employees to carry forward holiday that the employees were unable to take due to their incapacity to work, maternity or parental leave, or care for an ill child. Other reasons permitted by the Labour Code include emergency reasons on the part of the employer. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Labour Code should be amended to relax the rules. The new regulation assumes a possibility for employees to request in writing for the carry-forward of unused holiday exceeding 4 weeks to the next calendar year (or holiday exceeding 6 weeks in the case of teachers and academics), and the carry-forward should be conducted at the employee’s request. However, it is still the employer who is obligated to ensure that the employee evenly takes all of his holiday of at least two weeks. If the carry-forward of holiday fails to comply with any of the statutory requirements, the employer may face a penalty from labour authorities. Another planned change will affect the method of calculating holiday entitlement. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the current system based on the number of days or shifts worked is obsolete and disadvantageous to employees working irregular hours. With the new method of holiday entitlement calculation, the number of hours worked in a week (i.e. the weekly working hours) will be decisive. As a result, the holiday entitlement will be given in hours and not in days. Equally, the requirement under which the annual holiday entitlement arises after the employee has worked 60 days will be abolished. Again, this was unfair to people working irregular shifts, as they became entitled to holiday much later than their colleagues with regular hours. Under the new rules, holiday entitlement will arise to an employee carrying out work for the same employer for a continuous period of 52 weeks within the prescribed working hours or agreed shorter weekly working hours. An employee working for the employer for a shorter period will become entitled to 1/52 of hours worked per week once the employee has worked for at least four weeks. The proposed changes affecting holiday taking and carrying forward have not yet been adopted. However, if the amendment to the Labour Code is passed, the changes could come into effect in 2019.