Teenage traveler standing in front of a mountain

Always get sick at the start of your vacation?

After a long stretch of working you finally take some weeks off for the holidays and set your mind to relaxing and enjoying yourself. However, some people can’t seem to enjoy this time at all. What is dubbed in Dutch ‘vrijetijdsziekte’ (‘leisure sickness’) is a phenomenon where people immediately fall ill at the start of their vacation. Roughly 3% of Dutch people are affected by this and in the recent holiday season this was likely more due to a simultaneous flu wave. 

What many people don’t know is that you’re still entitled to sick days during your holiday in the Netherlands. Meaning that you can call in sick during your vacation and have your vacation days returned to you. Statistics from Arboned, who processes sick reports for companies, show that during the holidays (and the flu wave in late December) they still received fewer reports. Jan Machek, a psychologist for Arboned, even estimates that 8 in 10 people do not call in sick during their vacation.

Often people don’t want to be seen as difficult or demanding, while from a work-life balance perspective, it could be smart to apply for sick days after all. Holidays have a function for people to recharge. But for employers, it could also bring advantages. In a time of high work pressure and increasing burn-outs, it could be wise to provide employees with enough opportunities to recharge so they are rested and motivated. So if your brand wants to promote a healthy work-life balance or promote employee wellbeing, make sure your people are aware of this right and tell them it’s okay, or even desirable, they use it.