Stop losing a part of your salary when using paid vacation days in Czech Republic

Each year employees get 20-25 paid vacation days in Czech republic. But how many of them actually plan their holidays in a smart way? Over the years I realized that most people have no idea how their salary compensation for these paid days off is being calculated. As a result, most people receive less money in the months when they use their Czech paid vacation days. In this article I’m going to show you how the salary compensation for holidays is calculated. You will learn how to plan your days off in a way that not only saves you money, but actually gets you some extra cash from your employer.

Basic facts on paid vacation days in Czech Republic

It’s not easy to find relevant information on the Czech Labour Law in English, since most of these laws are written for the domestic population. Even though legal foreign employees in Czech Republic are largely entitled to all the same benefits and protections as the local ones. That includes things around paid vacation you get as an employee in Czech Republic. Some facts can be checked on EURES in English, but there is not much info there. Here is a quick overview of key points you need to know about how paid vacation works in Czechia:

  • Employers are required to offer 4 weeks of paid leave to their full-time employees in Czech Republic
  • It’s common to see employers offering 5 weeks of paid leave (25 days of paid vacation)
  • Employers can mandate that an employee takes up to 2 weeks of paid holidays on specific dates, if it’s communicated in written by the end of June of the current year
  • Employees must notify their employer about their plans to use paid days off at least 14 days in advance, unless agreed otherwise
  • Employees can use their paid vacation days 60 days after they start working for their employer, unless agreed otherwise. Normally you are entitled to 1 paid day off for every 21 days you worked.
  • Employers cannot compensate you financially for your unused holidays – you must rest! The only exception is when you quit or your contract is being terminated – then you can agree to get paid for the days of paid vacation you haven’t used.
  • Each employee is entitled to at least 2 weeks off in a row annually.

How is the compensation for paid vacation calculated in Czech Republic?

The salary compensation for your paid days off is not the same as the salary you’d get, if you were to work instead. The payroll department will derive your compensation as your average earnings in the previous calendar quarter, preceding the month in which you took your paid days off. Let’s break this down further. There are four quarters in each calendar year:

Q1January, February, March
Q2April, May, June
Q3July, August, September
Q4October, November, December

So, for example, when you take holidays in August (Q3), your salary compensation for those days is based your average earnings from April to June, i.e. Q2. Remember – your salary compensation for holidays is based on your average earnings in the preceding quarter, not necessarily in the three months before you take your paid vacation days. This is a very common misconception! Way too many employees in Czech Republic believe their salary is going to be the same in the months when they take holidays as in all other months.

Calculate your compensation beforehand

If you want to calculate your average earnings, simply divide the gross salary for a given calendar quarter by the number of hours you worked. You can easily find these numbers in your payslips for the months of the previous quarter. Gross salary is typically marked as ‘hrubá mzda’ and the hours worked are called ‘odpracované hodiny’. Once you do this math, you get the average of your gross hourly earnings. Then just multiply this by the number of “working hours” in the days you take as paid vacation.

So, let’s say you want to take 3 days off in August. If you work 8 hours a day, then you’ll need to count with 24 hours of paid vacation. If your average gross hourly earning in Q2 was 500 CZK, your paid vacation salary compensation will be 500*24=12000 CZK before tax. That’s how much you’ll get paid for those 3 days off you take in August.

You can also use this simple calculator I found on a Czech website. It’s in Czech, but it’s quite intuitive, so I think it can be helpful even if you don’t speak the language. Input your gross salary and worked hours for the three months of the quarter before your holidays. Add your daily working hours (typically 8) and the number of paid days off you’re planning to take. You can also include info on your paid out bonuses in that quarter and get this reflected in the calculation. More on that below.

How to get paid more when taking paid vacation days in Czech republic?

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Other factors that go into planning your Czech paid vacation days

Keep in mind that the number of hours worked in each quarter also goes into the calculation. The less you worked, the higher your quarter’s average is. So, for example, February typically has less working hours than any other month. Therefore, the average for the first quarter would typically be a bit higher in comparison to other quarters. That, of course, assuming your salary is otherwise the same throughout the year.

Also, don’t celebrate your promotion by taking days off and traveling! If you got a promotion recently and started enjoying your higher salary, wait a bit. Plan your holidays for when a full calendar quarter of such higher earnings passes. Otherwise, your previous (lower) salary will impact your salary compensation for your paid vacation days.

Using paid vacation days around Czech public holidays

Many of my colleagues plan their holidays beforehand trying to make the maximum out of Czech public holidays. Unfortunately, when public holidays happen to fall on Saturday or Sunday, these days off are not being transferred to the next work day. But, still, with 13 public holidays per year, usually most of them happen on week days. That’s an opportunity to take only a couple of days off around those public holidays and combine them with a weekend to get yourself a nice vacation over a week long.

In 2020 there are 11 public holidays that fall on a weekday. Check the table below and don’t forget that traveling in the middle of the week is usually cheaper than on Friday and weekends. 😉 Also, for your convenience I indicated public holidays of state importance in the last column. These are the days when Czech shops over 200 sq. metres are required to be closed.

DateDay of the weekHolidayShops over 200 m2
1 JanWednesdayNew Yearclosed
10 AprFridayGood Friday
13 AprMondayEaster Mondayclosed
1 MayFridayLabour day
8 MayFridayVictory dayclosed
5 JulSunday 🙁Saint Cyril & Methodius day
6 JulMondayJan Hus day
28 SepMondayStatehood dayclosed
28 OctWednesdayIndependence dayclosed
17 NovTuesdayFreedom and Democracy day
24 DecThursdayChristmas Eveclosed
25 DecFridayChristmas dayclosed
26 DecSaturday 🙁2nd day of Christmasclosed

Final thoughts on Czech paid vacation days

So, as an employee in Czech Republic be smart about planning your paid vacation days, and make the maximum out of each bonus or promotion. When planning your holidays, don’t forget to use our community deals and discounts on accommodation. And make sure you save on exchange rate when booking your tickets and accommodation – use your Revolut card for all bookings.

Last year I was looking for a way to spend my remaining paid vacation days somewhere out of Czechia. So, when booking my accommodation I used Revolut instead of my regular Czech bank card. I ended up saving 700 CZK on a 9000 CZK total cost of my AirBnb which charged me in EUR. As I always say ‘Spend your money smart!’.

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