Postponing Annual Leave Due to Incapacity

Payroll & HR | 08.02.2024

by Mika Pahlsten

In Finland it is possible to postpone the annual leave, or part of it, due to illness or other incapacity if certain conditions are met.

An employee's annual leave and incapacity may overlap. In this case, it is significant whether the incapacity began before the start of the annual leave or only after the annual leave had already begun.

Read also Finnish Annual Leave and Holiday Pay Regulations

Incapacity Begins Before Annual Leave

An employee has the right to have their leave postponed in the following two situations:

  1. The employee becomes incapacitated before the start of the annual leave

or

  1. The employee already knows before the start of the annual leave that they will need to undergo medical treatment or similar treatment during the annual leave, which will cause incapacity.

The conditions for postponement in both situations are as follows:

  • The incapacity for work has been reliably diagnosed before the start of the leave, supported by a medical certificate.
  • The employee notifies the employer of the matter before the start of the annual leave.
  • The employee specifically requests the postponement of their leave before the start of the leave.

The employer has several options to determine how the postponed leave is to be given. Naturally, the employee's wishes must be considered. But ultimately, the employer has the right to determine the taking of the postponed leave according to the needs of the organisation, as is the case with other annual leaves. This might even mean that the entire Annual Leave could be postponed from its original dates.

Incapacity for During Annual Leave (Deductible Days):

When an employee becomes incapacitated after the annual leave has already begun, it is possible that they will be subject to a 6-day leave deductible.

The deductible applies only to the portion of annual leave exceeding 24 days, affecting employees with full annual leave entitlements, i.e., 30 days of leave.

In practice, this deductible means that in a situation of incapacity during annual leave, the first 6 leave days (Monday – Saturday) are not compensable. If the incapacity for work persists beyond these 6 days, the employee is entitled to transfer the remaining leave days to be taken later, subject to the same conditions as when incapacity for work begins before annual leave.

It is crucial to emphasize that the employee must promptly contact a doctor and notify the employer of the incapacity for work and the request for leave transfer. If the employee fails to do so and only informs the employer of their incapacity after the leave, the employer is not obligated to agree to the leave transfer.

Granting Postponed Annual Leave:

The postponed summer leave must be taken by the end of the calendar year following the end of the leave season. The postponed winter leave, on the other hand, must be taken by the end of the calendar year following the end of the winter leave season.

An example illustrates the situation:

Accrued leave from the accrual year 1.4.2022 – 31.3.2023

  • Postponed summer leave must be taken by December 2024.
    • If the incapacitÖy for work continues, the postponed leave will be paid as compensation by the specified date. Since it is not vacation pay but compensation, holiday bonuses will not be paid unless otherwise required by the industry-specific collective agreement.
  • Postponed winter leave must be taken by December 2025.
    • If the incapacity for work continues, the postponed leave will be paid as compensation by the specified date. Since it is not vacation pay but compensation, vacation allowances will not be paid unless otherwise required by the industry-specific collective agreement.

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About Mika Pahlsten

Senior Legal Advisor, Azets