Summer on the beach or winter on the ski slopes: holidays are often eagerly awaited by employees. They are entitled to a certain number of paid vacation days. Between salary entitlement, fixing the dates of holidays or even illness during vacations: these days-off raise many issues.

Trial period

The purpose of the trial period is for the employer to determine whether the employee is suitable for the employer and whether the employer wants to make a long-term commitment to the employee. When the employee goes on holidays, this goal may be compromised. Does the employee have the right to go on holidays during the trial period? Can the trial period be extended?


During a short internship, it is common for the employer not to grant the intern a holiday. Is this legal?

Allowance in addition to salary

When an employee works on call or has irregular working hours, it may be more difficult for the employer to calculate the number of vacation days to which the employee is entitled and the corresponding salary. Under certain strict conditions, the employer may pay an allowance in addition to the monthly salary in lieu of salary during the employee's holidays.

The employer must be vigilant. If he or she does not respect these strict conditions, he/she will have to pay the employee's salary during the holiday period in addition to the allowance he/she paid with the monthly salary.

Setting holiday dates

The setting of holiday dates is sometimes the subject of discussion and dispute. A balance must be found between the employee's desire to take vacation when he or she wishes and the requirements of the company's operations. The employer may impose the date of the vacation on his or her employee under certain conditions.

A forced holiday is when the employer imposes a holiday unilaterally and at short notice. They are only possible in exceptional situations.

Company holidays are an annual interruption of work within the company. The employer must meet strict conditions before introducing them.

Cash benefits

In order to protect the employee's health, the employer may not replace the employee's holiday with cash benefits. However, this is possible in exceptional cases when the employee resigns or is dismissed.


During vacation, the employee is in principle free to engage in any activities he or she wishes. However, these activities are limited by the employee's duty of loyalty. Can the employee work during the vacations or engage in dangerous sports?


The purpose of a vacation is to allow the employee to rest. However, this goal can be compromised if the employee becomes ill or has an accident. Under certain conditions, the employee may be able to reclaim these vacation days.

Sometimes an employee who is unable to work goes abroad to see his or her family or to have a good time. This is a delicate and often abusive situation. The employer must react and take action.

End of the year

When the year has been intense professionally, it happens that the employee does not manage to take all his vacation days. The employer must manage this situation so that the unused holidays do not accumulate.


During the employee's holiday, the employer discovers that the employee has committed professional errors. A dismissal is possible. However, in certain situations, the holiday period will be postponed and will begin to run upon the employee's return.


The employer may only cancel or interrupt the employee's holiday in very exceptional circumstances. The employer will have to compensate the employee for the resulting costs.

Sometimes it is the employee who wishes to cancel his or her vacation, for example because his or her spouse has an accident that prevents departure on the scheduled date or, in the context of the Covid-19 crisis, because the holiday destination is put on the list of countries at risk. Cancellation is not always possible.

Duration of holidays

The employee is entitled to at least 4 weeks of holidays per year. Employees with a collective employment contract and young workers are in a special situation. What about executives?

Covid-19 pandemic

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, vacation destinations have been considered at risk by the federal authorities. As a result, quarantines have been put in place for people returning from high-risk countries.

Can an employer prohibit an employee from going on holidays to a high-risk country? Is an employee who is quarantined after returning from vacation entitled to daily allowances or salary?

Weather hazards

Following a snowstorm, an employee is stuck in his holiday cabin and cannot get to his/her workplace. Does the employer have to pay him/her his/her salary during his/her absence?

Sabbatical leave

Unpaid leave differs from holidays in several respects. The entitlement to salary, the consequences in case of illness or accident and the activities the employee can do differ.

Reduced holiday entitlement

When an employee is absent for part of the year, for example because of illness or maternity leave, the employee's workload is reduced. In certain situations, the employer may reduce the employee's holiday entitlement according to specific terms and conditions.

Abandonment of position

Disappointed that the employer does not grant the employee a holiday at the desired time, the employee decides to leave anyway and does not show up for work. Is this an abandonment of position?

Working while on vacation

An overzealous employee checks work emails while on holidays. An employer who can't get enough of him/her calls him/her constantly. Can the employee get back his/her vacation days during which he/she worked?

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon