According to local law, all employees working a 40-hour week have a right to 192 hours of paid leave each year. That’s exactly 24 working days of annual leave, or 4 weeks and 4 days, assuming you work 8 hours daily and 5 days per week. In case your average time of regular work (overtime not included) is above or below 40 hours, your vacation leave should be adjusted in proportion. To read the official regulations from the Organization of Working Time Regulations, see L.N. 247/2003.
Your vacation leave hours start counting from day 1 of your employment, and a leave can be agreed at any time between yourself and your employer. Even before you have completed your first 12 months of an employment contract you still get a proportional amount of leave hours, but you have to check with your employer before requesting a leave. When you submit an application for leave, your employer will have to approve it before you are allowed some time off the job.
Depending on the agreement between employee and employer, working leaves can be taken as a whole day or just a few hours, depending on the situation.
What do if your annual leave is unused?
As specified by local law, your right to a minimum of four weeks of annual leave is essential and your employer must not attempt to pay extra to keep you on the job rather than taking a leave. The only exception to this rule is on situations where your employment position is about to end. So if you plan to keep your job and have unused vacation leave, you cannot request a compensation for this time. You can however, make an agreement with your employer to carry forward up to 50% of your unused vacation leave hours to the next year.
In case your employer refuses your right to 160 hours of vacation leave, you should file a complaint at the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations. Your case will be evaluated and if needed, the situation might be settled in court. In this scenario, your employer will likely be required to pay for the vacation hours denied to you or at least avail 50% of your unused leave entitlement to the subsequent year.
Remember: should your employment contract be terminated, you will have the right to claim compensation for due hours of vacation that have been left unused.