Substitution days for public holidays 2012 to be determined before 15 December

Substitution days for public holidays 2012 to be determined before 15 December

Your employees are in principle not allowed to work on the ten public holidays per year. Before 15 December you should communicate the substitution days for 2012. And there are other points of attention as well.

Public holidays 2012

These are the ten public holidays for next year:
New Year's Day: Sunday 1 January 2012
Easter Monday: Monday 9 April 2012
Labour Day: Tuesday 1 May 2012
Ascension Day: Thursday 17 May 2012
Whit Monday: Monday 28 May 2012
National holiday: Saturday 21 July 2012
Assumption Day: Wednesday 15 August 2012
All Saints' Day: Thursday 1 November 2012
Armistice Day: Sunday 11 November 2012
Christmas Day: Tuesday 25 December 2012

Substitution days 2012

Public holidays on a Sunday or another day of non-activity should be substituted during the current calendar year. A day of non-activity is a day on which the 'full time' employees in your company should not work. When your company continuously operates (seven days a week), there is no normal non-activity day. Nevertheless a public holiday on a Sunday should be substituted.
When Sunday work is permitted, the employee can work during a public holiday. He then has the right to recuperate that day.

When your company does not operate on Saturday and Sunday, you should fix a substitution day for three public holidays next year: for Sunday 1 January 2012, for Saturday 21 July 2012 and for Sunday 11 November 2012. Different options exist.

Your employment regulation or an agreement with your employees foresees that the employees can freely choose when they will take these substitution days.

The substitution days can collectively be determined in the employees council, if there is no employees council with the union delegation or with the majority of the employees in case there is no (agreement with the) union delegation. By lack of decision on these different levels, an agreement can be made with every individual employee.

In case no substitution days are determined, the public holiday is recuperated on the next activity day, in most cases the Monday following the public holiday. So for 2012: Monday 2 January 2012, Monday 23 July 2012 and Monday 12 November 2012.

Before 15 December you should publish a dated and signed announcement with the dates of the substitution days or with the provision that your employees can freely take the substitution days as they want. You should list the dates of the public holidays in annex to the employment regulation. A second copy should be provided to the social inspection within eight days.

Regional holidays

The regional holidays are no public holidays: 11 July for the Flemish Community, 27 September for the French Community and 15 November for the German Community. These days are only mandatory holidays in the companies or sectors which have decided to make these days a holiday. If these days fall on a Sunday or a day of non-activity, the rules in your company or sector on substitution days apply.

Special rules for part time employees

For part time employees special rules apply. Part time employees with a fixed schedule only have right to substitution of public holiday when they occur on an activity day. When they work with a flexible schedule, they have also right to payment of the public holidays on their days of inactivity (but not to substitution of that public holiday).

When the company operates a seven days a week schedule, the substitution day can be fixed on a day the part time employee does not work. Depending on the case he loses or obtains that substitution day.


For every public holiday or substitution day falling on a Sunday or non-activity day or recuperation day, the employee has right to his salary. This salary is the same as what he would earn in case he would actually have worked that day. It contains the normal salary, premiums and benefits in kind the employee would have received if he would have worked. In collective labour agreements or in the employment regularisation it can be foreseen that premiums are also due in such case.

The employee does not have right to his salary for the public holiday in case he was illegitimately absent on the day before or after the public holiday. His absence is considered legitimate when it concerns any legal suspension, such as disability, annual holiday, force majeure or any other reason which is accepted by you.