Transfer of vacation days to next year


As we are approaching the end of the year, there are a lot of people wondering if they can transfer unused vacation days to next year.


I have taken the most common questions which I received:


Can I transfer unused vacation days towards the next year if I want to?


You can only transfer your vacation days if there is a good reason for it. An example can be that a person was on a long sick-leave and as the result, could not take the vacation. It is not possible to transfer vacation days just because a person “wants to”.


How many vacation days can be transferred towards the next year?


It depends on the situation. 


  • If it is your first year in the company, you have not “earned” any vacation days yet, because you “earn” those 1 year before you take vacation. Therefore, you cannot transfer any vacation days at all. Example: Tom got sick in June. He got 100% sick-leave until the end of the year. Because of this he could not take any vacation days in 2020 at all. Therefore, all 25 vacation days (together with holiday pay) should be transferred to 2021.


  • If a person has a strong reason (which is not a long-term sick-leave or parental leave), he/she can agree in writing with the Employer to transfer up to 12 vacation days towards next year. However, it is important that there is a mutual agreement on this. One cannot demand such transfer.


  • If your Employer did not make sure that you take vacation and did not follow up on your usage of vacation days, it is a breach of the Holiday Act. All unused vacation days must be transferred towards the next year in this case. Example: Carl wanted to take a vacation, but got a “No” from his boss each time he asked due to important projects and deadlines. By the end of the year, Carl has 15 unused vacation days. All of them must be transferred towards next year.


I have unused vacation days. Can my company make me take vacation?


By law all employers have a duty to make sure that employees take enough holidays. Of course, you decide yourself when to take a vacation. But it is important that you do. 


By doing this they protect employees from burnouts and they protect themselves from the situations when a person accumulates 50 vacation days, goes on a long vacation which can have a negative effect on company’s operations. 


I “earned” my vacation days the year before, but was not able to take the vacation. Can I get paid for these days instead of taking vacation?


  • No, it is not allowed by law to get paid for unused vacation days.
  • However, if you are leaving the company and by your departure date you still have unused vacation days “earned” in the year before, the company has to pay these out to you.





All of the above refers to the vacation days regulated by Holiday Act (In Norwegian - ferielovens feriedager). Some companies may have extra vacation days in addition to these.


They are called “contractual” (avtalefetsede ferie) and they are not regulated by Holiday Act. Therefore, the rules for their transfer, possibilities of being paid out, etc differ from what was described above. 


Example: you have 30 days vacation as per your contract. Out of 30 days: 


  • 25 are the vacation days regulated by Holiday Act and the information from this article will apply


  • 5 days are “contractual vacation days”, they are not regulated by Holiday Act. These days can be transferred on agreement/paid out. The information provided in this article will not apply to these days.


I have also written an article on Holiday Pay - you can find it here.


Any questions? Get in touch and ask me here.