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05 December 2019 / news

The end of the year is near… don’t forget to post the replacement holidays 2020 before December 15!

The end of the year is getting closer… to make sure you can all enjoy your Christmas dinner and/or New Year’s eve party to the fullest, we decided to guide you through these last weeks of 2019 by putting your attentions on some last to do’s.

Blue pen ticking off a checkbox

Please find our first point of attention regarding the statutory public holidays below.

Every year, there are 10 statutory public holidays on which employees are – in principle – not allowed to work. If these public holidays occur on a Sunday or another day of inactivity within the company, replacement holidays need to be determined. In 2020, Assumption Day (August 15) will be on a Saturday and All Saints’ Day (November 1) will be on a Sunday. In most companies, these two public holidays will thus coincide with a day of inactivity so that companies will have to provide for replacement holidays. These replacement holidays must be communicated to the employees by December 15 at the latest.

General principle

There are 10 public holidays, of which the dates and those of the replacement days must be mentioned in the work regulations. A public holiday that coincides with a Sunday or a normal day of inactivity in the company must be replaced on an ordinary working day (which can be any regular weekday). This replacement holiday can occur before or after the public holiday in question, but must in any case occur within the same calendar year in order to guarantee 10 public holidays per year. Extra-legal holidays, at the level of the joint committee or the company, are not covered by this law on public holidays and therefore do not need to be replaced.

Procedure for the determination of the replacement holidays

Replacement holidays which coincide with a Sunday or a regular day of inactivity within the company, must be determined through a specific cascade system:

  • The joint committees can decide on the replacement holidays which are made mandatory by royal decree.
  • If no decision is taken by the joint committee, the works council can take a decision.
  • If there is no works council, the employer and the trade union delegation can make an agreement.
  • If there is no trade union delegation, the employer can make an agreement with the majority of the employees.
  • If there is no collective agreement, an agreement between the employer and each individual employee can be made.
  • If there is no agreement in any of the above forms, the public holiday will be replaced by the first normal working day within the company after the public holiday.


When an arrangement is made for the entire company, a signed and dated notice must be posted in the company’s premises before December 15. This notice must state the replacement holidays and the rules for taking compensatory rest for those employees who do work. A copy of this notice must be attached to the work regulations and must be sent to the Supervision of Social Legislation of the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue.

Deposit with the Supervision of Social Legislation

Did you know that as of this year, it is possible to submit the work regulations or a change of them (e.g. when introducing new working hours, replacement holidays, etc.) online on (Dutch), (French), (German)? This is possible with the electronic identity card (eID) or with the Itsme-app and can in principle be done by anyone in the company. It goes without saying that we can also assist you with this if helpful! If you opted for electronic archiving, it is no longer necessary to send another paper copy.

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