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Iceland Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Vacation, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Iceland

Last updated on December 29, 2023.

Vacation (Annual Leave) Quota

24 days

Workers in Iceland are entitled to 24 days of paid vacation per year. Some workers may be entitled to more vacation days if they have a collective agreement.

The law mandates a monthly accrual of 2 days of vacation during the accrual year, which lasts from May 1 to April 30. Most workers use their vacation during the time period from May 2 to September 1.

This vacation policy is among most generous in the Europe. Nevertheless, leave laws in Denmark, the UK and France provide their employees more vacation days guaranteed: 25, 28, and 25 respectively.


A vacation allowance is required by law.

Workers get a vacation allowance, generally paid monthly or at the start of their leave either at the start of their vacation or monthly.

Payment of Unused Vacation on Termination

Required by law.

When an employee ends his/her employment at the company, the employer is required to pay his/her unused vacation allowance.

Sick Leave in Iceland

24 days per year

Sick leave entitlement is the same as vacation entitlement. Employees accrue 2 days of sick leave each month during their initial year of work. This means that after a full year of employment, they are entitled to 24 days of sick leave. Sick leave enrollment also increases with the years of service at the company.

Employees are required to present a medical certificate and inform their superiors about their sick leave as early as practible.

CBA may offer some employees extra days of leave. Some CBAs can also provide employees with paid sick leave when their children under the age of 13 are sick.


The initial two days of each monthly accrual are compensated at full salary by the employer. Above these two days, the compensation rate and duration of sick leave are determined by the employee’s chosen trade union.

Additionally, employees who lose their salary because of sick leave might qualify for help from social security.

Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leave

Maternity and Paternity Leave in Iceland

12 months in total for both parents.

Parents who are employed, when their child is born or adopted, are entitled to 12 months of paid leave, which is maternity and paternity leave combined. This leave is available to all employees, both in the public and private sectors, as well as self-employed employees.

Each of the parents is entitled to a minimum of 5 months of leave. On top of that, they also receive 2 more months of leave, which can be used equally or taken only by one parent. This means that one parent may have 7 months of maternity leave and the other 5 months of paternity leave, or they can both have 6 months. This leave is to be taken within the first 18 months of the newborn.

These conditions make Iceland have one of the best paternity leave among the world’s leave laws.


Maternity and paternity leave in Iceland is paid by the government (social security system) at a rate of 80% of the employee’s salary.

Parents become eligible for paid maternity or paternity leave after months of employment.

Parental Leave in Iceland

13 weeks of unpaid leave

Employees are entitled to take advantage of unpaid parental leave, lasting up to 13 weeks, to take care of a child who is eight years old or younger.


Parental leave is unpaid.

Bereavement Leave in Iceland

Bereavement leave is not specified by law.

Jury Duty Leave in Iceland

Jury duty leave is not specified by law.

Military Leave in Iceland

Military leave is not specified by law.

Voting Leave in Iceland

Voting leave is not specified by law.

Public Holidays in Iceland for 2024

15 days of public holidays

Iceland recognizes 15 public holidays in a year and they last 15 days. However, some holidays provide a few successive days:

  • Easter: 3 days;

  • Whit Sunday (Pentecost): 2 days;

  • Christmas: 3 days.

A complete list of official holidays celebrated in Iceland in 2024:
Date Holiday
January 1 New Year 2024
March 28 Maundy Thursday (Thursday before Easter)
March 29 Good Friday
April 1 Easter Monday
April 25 First Day of Summer
May 1 Labor Day
May 9 Ascension Day
May 19 Whit Sunday (Pentecost)
May 20 Whit Monday
Jun 17 Independence Day
August 5 Commerce Day
December 24 Christmas Eve
December 25 Christmas
December 26 Boxing Day
December 31 New Year 2025


  1. Local Laws & Regulations, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/iceland

  2. Parental Leave, Government Site, https://island.is/en/parental-leave

  3. Definitive Guide to Hiring in Iceland, https://www.globalexpansion.com/countrypedia/Iceland

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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