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Last updated: 21.06.2023

What if I get sick before or during my annual holiday?

If you get sick right before your annual holiday or during the holiday, your holiday can be moved to a later time. Here are the rules about how this can be done.

Getting sick when the holiday begins

If the holiday is about to begin but the worker is not able to work because of sickness, accident or giving birth to a baby, the worker can ask for the holiday to be moved to a later time, and the employer must then do so.

The worker also has the right to ask for the whole holiday or part of it to be moved to a later time if s/he knows in advance that s/he will have to go to the hospital or have another treatment during the holiday and would not be fit to work at that time. The treatment can be for example a surgical operation that has been booked in advance.

The worker must ask the employer to move the holiday and give a statement about not being able to work. Collective agreements have rules about what kind of statement must be shown, but often it must be a doctor’s certificate. For example, in the commercial sector, the worker must give the employer a doctor’s certificate if the employer has not decided that some other statement or certificate will be good enough. 

Getting sick during the holiday

If you get sick or are otherwise not fit for work during the annual holiday or part of it, you have the right to move the holiday to a later time. This right is given in the Annual Holidays Act (the law). There may be a waiting period. The holiday days that are spent during the waiting period can not be moved to a later time.

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 no more than four weeks (24 holiday days) of annual holiday, they can all be moved to a later time. If you have the right to more than four weeks of holiday (so that you have a total of 25–30 holiday days), each of these six holiday days adds one day to the waiting period, up to six days.

Example: If you have earned 26 days of annual holiday during the holiday credit year 1 April 2020–31 March 2021, the waiting period can only be two days long.

The waiting period is calculated for the whole year. This means that you should always report the sick days from even short holiday periods and get a doctor’s certificate for them. The total number of sick days during all the holidays can then be counted.

It is important that you tell the employer immediately if you are sick and give the employer a doctor’s certificate if that is the rule at your workplace. You must report your sickness and ask for the holiday to be moved as soon as you can. The holiday will not be moved to a later time if you have not asked for it.

Taking the holiday that has been moved to a later date

If the summer holiday has been moved to a later date, you have the right to take it during the summer holiday season (from May to September), if this is possible. If the winter holiday is moved to a later date, you have the right to take it before May if possible. The employer decides when you can take the holiday. The main rule is that the employer must tell you the time of the holiday at least two weeks before the holiday begins. Read more about taking your annual holiday.

If you are in another country

If you get sick when you are in another country, you must get a doctor’s certificate. It must state the ICD code and the period when you are not fit for work. That is, the certificate must have the same basic information that certificates written in Finland are. You should ask for a certificate that has been written in English. 

If the employer tells you to go to a doctor after the trip and gives you the name of the doctor that you should use, you should do this.

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