Employees have a surplus in vacation days this year due to coronavirus
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    Employees have a surplus in vacation days this year due to coronavirus

    Credit: Belga

    A surplus in employees’ vacation days this year causes worry that many employees will take a lot of time off during the final months of the year, Human Resources specialist Attentia said on Thursday.

    Employees have clearly taken fewer days off from March through June, the HR specialist noted. The surplus is partly explained by the temporary unemployment peak that occurred mainly in April, but confinement also meant that many employees cancelled or did not plan any holidays in the spring.

    “The fear is therefore that many employees will still take a lot of leave during the last months of the year,” the human resources specialist said.

    “Many companies are going to feel this,” Sévérine Maebe of Attentia said in Het Nieuwsblad.

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    As of 31 August, Belgian employees still had an average of eight days off, compared with 6.5 days last year, but Maebe pointed out that “for a company of a thousand employees, a day and a half per employees is of course quite a lot.”

    The statutory holidays must be used up by 31 December 2020, as it is not permitted to carry over these days of leave to the following year.

    In the worst case scenario, employees will lose their statutory holidays, but employers, too, have an obligation to ensure that employees can take their annual leave.

    “Employers who fail to do so are in breach of the relevant legislation and can be punished with either a criminal or an administrative fine,” Attentia pointed out.

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times