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The new leave system explained

Since 1 January 2020 - with the transition to the Dutch Civil Code - the system of writing off leave has changed. When you take leave, the system automatically writes off the hours that fall due first.

No change to the number of vacation hours

The number of vacation hours you have will not change. People with a full-time contract will still have a total of 232 vacation hours. If you work more hours due to flexible working arrangements, you will accrue 96 compensatory hours. For people on the minimum option (a 36-hour working week), 96 hours of vacation will be written off.

What is the new situation?

In the new situation, leave hours are divided into the categories of statutory and supplementary vacation hours, and where applicable also compensatory hours; each category has its own expiry period.

The law states that every employee needs a minimum number of vacation hours – four times their weekly hours of work – in order to recuperate after working. These hours form the statutory vacation leave. In view of that aim – recuperation after work – the law is intended to discourage the employee from carrying these hours over: the hours must be taken before 1 July of the following calendar year, or they will expire.

Supplementary vacation hours are granted in addition to the statutory vacation hours, as agreed in the CAO NU. Our CAO gives employees with a full-time contract 80 supplementary vacation hours. These hours expire five years after the calendar year in which they were accrued.

Compensatory hours are accrued as part of flexible working hours. The CAO states that, for participants in the minimum option of flexible working hours, these hours are deducted from the vacation leave allowance. Employees participating in the plus option of flexible working hours must take these compensatory hours in the year in which they are accrued. Because these hours expire earlier than other hours, they are written off first; read on for a more detailed explanation of how this works.


See the below table for an overview of the validity period of the different types of leave. The table also includes information about the leave fund to which the sale of leave hours under the Individual Choices Model and savings in the long-term savings option are assigned.

Statutory vacation hours                                      

Expire on 1 July of the following calender year.

Supplementary vacation hours

Expire 5 years after the calender year in which they were accrued, on 31 December.

Compensatory hours

Expire on 31 December in the year they were accrued.

Hours purchased under the Invidual Choices Model

Expire on 31 December in the year they were purchased.

Hours sold under the Individual Choices Model

Written off from the supplementary vacation hours of the year in which they were sold. 

Savings for the long-term savings option

Deducted from the supplementary vacation hours of the year in which they are saved.
If an extra 72 hours are saved, these hours are deducted from the compensatory hours of the plus option of flexible working hours.

The automated system will first write off the hours which expire the soonest.

For leave accrued in 2018, 2019 and 2020, this means that leave hours that either have been or are due to be taken will be written off from the accrued leave in the order set out below: 

2018: order in which leave hours are written off

Number of hours
(based on 1,0 FTE)

First, remaining statutory 2020 (until 01-07-2021)*

x hours

Then, compensatory hours 2020

96 hours

Next, hours purchased under the Indivual Choices Model 2021*

38 hours

Next, statutory 2021

152 hours

Next, supplementary 2018

80 hours

Next, supplementary 2019

80 hours 

Next, supplementary 2020

80 hours 

Next, compensatory 2021

80 hours 

*As applicable to the employee. If the employee has not taken advantage of the flexible working hours or purchased extra leave under the Individual Choices Model, those schemes will of course not be included in the calculation.

Please note: if you have an annual agreement, this remains in force and it will be assumed that you have taken these hours by the end of the calendar year.

If your leave applications have been processed in Self Service on or before 24 December, you will be able to see an up-to-date record of your valid leave hours after the Christmas vacation.

If you still have any outstanding Self Service leave applications for 2019, you will need to submit them before 10 December in order to give your manager enough time to approve your application, and to ensure that your applications are processed in Self Service by 24 December.

You will still be able to submit leave applications after 24 December, but these applications will not be processed until the New Year.

The table below shows the overview of leave hours as it will appear in the Self Service leave module as of January 2020: 

Description of contingent
(=type of leave)

Expires (=valid until)

Number (=hours, the below is based on 1.0 FTE)

Statutory vacation (=2021)



Supplementary vacation (=2021)



Compensatory Flex. Working hours (=2021)*



Hours purchased under the Individual Choices Model (=2021)*



Remaining supplementary 2018


remaining, max 80

Remaining supplementary 2019


remaining, max 80

Remaining statutory 2020


remaining, max 152

Remaining supplementary 2020


remaining, max 80

Accumulated leave*

unchanged individually*

Untaken leave*



* Only visible if applicable. 

Please note: if you have an annual agreement, this remains in force and it will be assumed that you have taken these hours by the end of the calendar year.

If you have a lot of outstanding leave hours that you have not taken, contact your manager to decide when to take these hours to ensure that they do not expire. One option is to pause your participation in the plus option of the flexible working hours. You could also decide to take advantage of the minimum option.

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