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Sick during your vacation: what happens to your leave days?

Getting sick is never fun, and especially not during your well-deserved vacation. But there's good news! Because an alignment of Belgian law with European law means that, as of vacation year 2024, you can recover the paid leave days you lose as a result at a later time.

Josefien De Bock

2 min. reading time

No more losing your vacation days

Currently, these rules apply:

  • Did you get sick before the start of your vacation and did the illness continue during the vacation? Then you can take the lost vacation days later and get guaranteed pay from your employer for the sick days.
  • Did you only get sick after your vacation started? Then you cannot convert these leave days into sick days, which means you lose them.

As of vacation year 2024, this will change. On March 16th, 2023, a Royal Decree was published in the Belgian Official Gazette that aligns the Belgian vacation regulations with the European directive. This allows the vacation days of employees who fall sick during their legal vacation to be converted into sick days. That way, they can recover vacation days at a later date.

The condition is that you immediately notify your employer of your illness (within 2 days of the doctor's visit), provide a medical certificate and indicate that you want to take the vacation days later. Keep in mind that a medical check is possible, including at your possible vacation address.

Transfer of vacation days

Under the current vacation legislation, employees must take their legal vacation days before the end of the vacation year. If they do not do so, they lose those days because they cannot be carried over to the next calendar year.

This, too, will change as of vacation year 2024. If you cannot take all your vacation days by the end of the year due to illness, you may still take them up to 24 months after the end of the vacation year. Just keep in mind that you'll no longer receive vacation pay for those days when you take them, since you'll already get paid that amount no later than the end of the previous vacation year.

For example: you plan 5 days of leave between Christmas and New Year. However, you become ill from Dec. 28th to Dec. 31st, 2024. You'll still be able to take those 4 scheduled vacation days, that you couldn't take due to your illness, until Dec. 31st, 2025. You do get your vacation pay for those days already paid out, by Dec. 31st, 2024 at the latest.

Would you like to learn more about vacation or vacation pay? Have a look at our blogs.

About the author

Josefien De Bock

Josefien De Bock fladdert door het leven als freelance copywriter en content creator. Als Text Fairy tovert ze de mooiste teksten tevoorschijn voor klanten in diverse sectoren. Met veel ervaring, enthousiasme én een vleugje magie! Check it out op Omdat ze maar niet genoeg kan krijgen van schrijven, blogt Josefien bovendien over alles wat haar fascineert en interesseert op

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