1. Who decides when you can take your summer holidays?

“The employer must listen to the employee’s wishes regarding the time of the holidays, but the employer has the final say on when the holidays take place” says Jan Degerlund, head of legal affairs at Suomen Ekonomit.

According to the law, employees must be given 24 days of annual leave during the summer season – which starts immediately after May Day (Vappu / May 1st) and continues until the end of September.

The law says that the leave should be given continuously. The holidays can also be divided if it is necessary to maintain the activity of the company during summer. In that case, the employee should be given at least 12 days of uninterrupted holidays.

2. Can the summer holidays be postponed?

“The employer cannot unilaterally -on their own- cancel nor change the holiday dates. The employer and the employee can agree together, of course, to change the dates,” says Degerlund.

The employer must notify the employee of the holiday period no later than one month before the holidays start. If that is not possible, the employee must be notified at least two weeks in advance. When the employer gives the notification to the employee, it is binding for the employer: the employer cannot change it unilaterally.

However, if the employer changes or cancels already agreed upon holidays anyway, the employer is obliged to compensate the employee for the damage caused: for example, reimburse the costs of the cancelled holiday trip.

The employee must follow the employer’s instructions regarding postponed, transferred, or cancelled holidays if the holidays had not yet started.

3. If you get sick during your holidays, can you postpone them?

If the employee requests it, the holidays must be postponed to a later date. Degerlund points out that the holidays will not be transferred automatically in case of sickness.

“The employee must be active and ask to postpone their holidays if they get sick. To ask for a postponement, the employee must submit a health certificate proving their incapacity to work.”

Once the request submitted, the remaining holiday days are postponed to after the sickness period. However, a waiting period applies -only sick days passed the waiting period will be postponed as holiday days. The waiting period depends on how many annual leave days the employee has accrued. The maximum waiting period length is six days.

4. If you get sick before your holidays, can you postpone?

If you fall ill before the start of your holidays, you can request to postpone your holidays, with no waiting period applying. However, the request to postpone the holidays should be made without delay and before the start of said holidays.

5. What happens to your holidays if you quit?

After their holidays, many employees change job. One of the most asked questions to the lawyers is: “what happens to the holidays if I resign?”

“Resignation and dismissal should not affect in any way the rules mentioned above. If problems arise, you should contact, for example, a lawyer from your trade union,” Degerlund advises.

Degerlund also reminds that collective bargaining agreements may contain provisions that differ from the general law detailed in the previous examples, so it is always a good idea to check that as well with the lawyer.

More questions?

Degerlund Jan
Chief Legal Officer
p. 09 2312 0101
Employment relationships, private sector Advice for employers