The Right to Paid or Unpaid Holiday
In June many of you experience that the issues of holiday, when to take holiday and the holiday payment, may cause some debate or misunderstandings between au pair and host family. The Au Pair Center see that there is a need to clarify the rules regarding holiday, ie when to take holiday and what to get paid while on holiday.
The right to paid or unpaid holiday is regulated by the Holiday Act of 1988 (Ferieloven av 1988). The Holiday Act applies to au pair as well, though you are not regarded as employees by UDI. But Section 12 of the Au Pair Contract states:
The au pair is entitled to 25 working days’ holiday per calendar year. Even if the au pair has not been with the host family for the whole year, he/she is entitled to full holidays if he/she started working for the host family no later than 30 September. If the au pair started working after 30 September, the au pair is entitled to six working days’ holiday. The same applies if the au pair changes host families, provided that he/she can document that he/she did not take holidays while working for the previous host family. The host family shall also pay holiday pay for the au pair in accordance with the provisions of the Holiday Act.
Public holidays are days off and not counted as part of the 25 working days off work as these days are public holidays for everyone! See Section 5 of the Holiday Act attached.
As the Holiday Act applies it means the following:
The right to paid holiday follows the Holiday Act Section 10. Holiday pay from an employer is calculated on the basis of wages paid in the qualifying year, ie the year before the holiday which would mean that holiday 2014 is based on the total income for 2013.
Holiday payment =10,2% of total gross income (NOK 5.200 per month) and the value of full or partial board received as part of payment for work shall. For 2013 the value of free food per day has been set to NOK 80 per day received and in 2014 it is NOK 82 per day received. If you have worked throughout all of 2013 you should be paid NOK 9.302 when you decide to take out holiday. Also, when you leave the household of the family and quit as their au pair, remember to ask for the holiday money acquired but NOT yet paid. This also applies when you have worked as au pair for two years and intend to return to your home country.
AND NB – HOLIDAY PAYMENT IS NOT ADDED TO YOUR ORDINARY SALARY, IT REPLACES IT. IT IS SIMPLY A RIGHT TO TIME OFF WITH NOT OBLIGATION TO WORK BUT AT THE SAME TIME NOT TO LOOSE INCOME.
Payment of holiday pay
Holiday pay earned by the au pair in the employment of the host family the preceding qualifying year is paid on the last normal last day before the holiday. An employee may nevertheless demand payment of holiday pay at the latest 1 week before the beginning of the holiday.
Obligation to take out holiday when not acquired right to full payment?
Another important part of the law is Section 5 (6) reads;
“Employees may claim annual leave in connection with holidays pursuant to the provisions above irrespective of holiday pay earned. Employees may refuse to take holidays or any additional time off insofar as their holiday pay does not compensate for pay lost during absence on holiday”. This means that you have NO OBLIGATION to take out holiday if you have not acquired holiday payment. Only for the days you have acquired holiday payment.
Arbeidstilsynets web pages on holiday and holiday payment.
Here's a link to the Holiday Act in English:
Wish you all a GREAT SUMMER!