Skip to content
Last updated: 17.08.2023

Giving annual holiday, taking annual holiday, and deciding when the annual holiday is

The employer must follow the rules of the law when giving you annual holiday. For example, you have the right to know when your holiday will be.

These are the rules about annual holiday:

  • The employer must explain their annual holiday system to the workers or their representatives.
  • Before the employer sets the time for the holiday, the worker must have an opportunity to say when he or she would like to have the holiday.
  • The employer must take the worker’s wish into account when possible.
  • The employer must treat all workers in the same way.
  • The employer has the right to set the time of the holiday, but there are some rules about this in the law.

When and how can I have annual holiday?

The summer holiday is 24 weekdays at most, and you have the right to have it during the summer holiday season between 2 May and 30 September. You can have your winter holiday during the rest of the year. The winter holiday is usually 6 weekdays, or all the annual holiday days that you don’t use for summer holiday.

All weekdays, also Saturdays, are counted as holiday days. Religious holidays, Independence Day, Christmas Eve, Midsummer Eve, Easter Saturday and 1 May are not counted as holiday days. For example, if the holiday takes place during the week of 1 May, 1 May is free, but it is not counted as a holiday day.

You have the right to have your summer holiday all at once without breaks. You also have the right to have your winter holiday without breaks. However, you can agree to have 12 weekdays of holiday at one time and the rest of the holiday in one or more period. The employer only has the right to ask you to have your holiday in such periods if it is necessary to keep the work going. In the service sectors, this is not often necessary.

The holiday must not begin on the worker’s day off if this leads to having less real holiday days. Annual holiday can only take place during maternity or paternity leave if the worker agrees to it. However, the employer can set the holiday during parental leave. Collective agreements have rules about having days off, and how you can get days off based on your annual holiday weeks.

The Annual Holidays Act (Vuosilomalaki) also says that you can agree with the company about using holiday days when your employment ends, even if it is not yet the holiday season. This means that you have paid holiday when you are still employed by the company, and do not take holiday compensation (lomakorvaus) as money instead of the holiday.

When will I be told when my holiday is?

The employer must tell you when your holiday is at least one month before the holiday begins.

If the employer does not do this, they must explain why it has not been possible. The reason must be something about how the company’s production or services are organised, and how the workers’ holiday times must be organised because of these. The reason could be, for example:

  • A larger order has been secured just before the holiday season, and more people are needed to work on it.
  • One worker is suddenly away so that others can not have their holidays at the agreed times.

If the employer can not tell you the time of your holiday one month before it begins, they can tell you later, but always at least two weeks before the holiday begins. The employer must tell you the time of the holiday as soon as they can.

You need to know when your holiday is so that you can make plans. If the employer tries to make you take your holiday and does not tell you the holiday time at least two weeks before it begins, you do not have to take the holiday at that time.

The employer must give you a new time for your holiday so that you know about it at least two weeks before it begins.

The employer can not change the time of the holiday

When the employer has told you when your holiday is, they can not change it. This rule is the same for a holiday that you know about one month before it begins, and a holiday that you know about later. When you are told when your holiday will be, you must be able to trust that information.

The employer can not change the holiday time, even if the one-month period has not yet begun. However, if the employer only proposes some holiday times and asks for the worker’s opinion on these, or gives a conditional holiday time, these are not binding, and the employer can change them freely. If the employer gives a preliminary holiday time, they must also make sure that the worker is told the final holiday time within the time set in the law.    

After the employer has told the worker the time of the holiday, they can only change it if the worker agrees to the change.

The employer is responsible for any harm that may be caused to the worker

If the employer changes the time of an agreed holiday, they are responsible for any harm that this may cause to the worker. The harm could be, for example, costs of having to cancel a trip or the lease of a holiday house.

The worker must prove that the change has caused costs, so save any receipts and other documents.

What do I do if my holiday time is changed against the rules of the law?

If the employer changes the holiday time against the rules of the Annual Holidays Act, the worker must have the holiday at the new time given by the employer.

If the worker takes the holiday at the time that was first agreed, this is absence without leave, and there may be consequences based on the Employment Contract Act. When thinking about how serious the case is, the fact that the employer broke the law must of course be also taken into account.

If the worker had already started the holiday when the employer tells him or her that the holiday time must be changed, the employer has no right to pause the holiday, and the worker can stay on holiday (TN 955-1973.37).

Moving the holiday when the worker gets ill

If the worker gets ill before the summer holiday begins, the worker can ask that the holiday is moved to another time.

If the worker gets ill during the holiday, part of the holiday can be moved later, but only after a certain number of days. This period is six days at most. The Annual Holidays Act says that everyone should have at least four weeks of annual holiday while they are healthy. If you have 24 days or less of annual holiday, and you get sick, you can move all your holiday days for later.

Read more about Getting sick before or during your annual holiday.

Read more:

Useful links