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How many vacation days are there for employees working in Germany?

Every employee in Germany is entitled to a specific number of vacation days. The length depends on the working days and the type of occupation/work one has. Here’s how many vacation days there are in Germany:

Vacation days in Germany for employees and how many you are entitled to.

How many vacation days are there in Germany: What does the law say?

The right to holiday in Germany is regulated by a federal law (BUrlG) . According to the office, all employees in Germany are entitled to paid annual leave in each calendar year.

Currently, a minimum of 24 vacation days a year is foreseen for a 6-day working week and similarly 20 vacation days year for a 5-day working week. For part-time employees, annual leave is calculated pro rata on the basis of the weekly working time.

The full holiday entitlement only takes effect 6 months after the commencement of employment. If it lasts less than 6 months, the leave is granted on a pro-rata basis (two working days per month).

In the situation that the employment is subject to a collective agreement, the amount of leave is usually higher.

The provisions of the Act on the protection of working youth mainly applies to young people. Depending on the age of the employee, the law provides for up to 30 working days of holiday per year.

Leave application for vacation days in Germany:

A written request for leave must always be submitted. The employee usually has the freedom to decide which days are the best for them but, there are cases where the employer may limit this freedom or refuse to leave on the requested date due to the interest of the company.

There are certain situation where leave could not be granted, e.g. if there would be too few employees left to ensure its operation, if there would be a sudden accumulation of orders, if an inventory at the end of the year is required, e.t.c.

Do I have to take leave within the year?

Leave must be taken within the year but should one not use their days, some employers must allow it to be used again. According to the law, you can use it until March 31 of the following year (the contract may indicate a later date), if you cannot take it earlier, e.g. due to illness.

Vacation and shift work

In the case of work that has a shift, Sundays and public holidays also count as working days. Shift workers must use the holiday leave as a day off on a Sunday or public holiday and on a normal working day.

A ruling of the Federal Labour Court of July 21, 2015 explains how to evaluate working days with night shifts whose working hours exceed 2 calendar days. The court explained that vacation days always refer to calendar days.

Should the shift start on one day and does not end until the next day, 2 holiday days must be agreed.

Workers who work more than 5 days a week and work shifts have to take more vacation days than workers who work during the normal five days a week

Workers who work more than 5 days a week and work shifts have to take more vacation days than workers who work during the normal five days a week, they have priority over the leave.

This is the only way to obtain the necessary statutory holiday entitlement or holiday entitlement equivalent to that of an ordinary employee. The basis for the calculation is a five-day week; the calculation formula is:

Holidays x working days with different distribution per year / working days per year with a five-day week

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Sickness while on vacation

In the event of illness during the holiday, the employee has the right to interrupt the holiday.

Unpaid leave

After taking paid leave, unpaid leave may be granted if the employee needs additional days off due to urgent personal matters.

Extra leave

Many collective agreements provide for a holiday allowance in addition to pay for work. Persons with a significant degree of disability are entitled to additional paid leave (additional 5 working days during the year); shifts and night workers.

The right to leave and leaving work

In the event of a change of job and unused vacation, the employee may apply for payment from the employer for unused days off. The employer may also require the employee to use the outstanding holiday leave during the notice period.

Kurzarbeit and shortening the holiday leave

On November 30, the federal labour court in Erfurt ruled on short-term leave for working part-time workers. The proportional reduction of the holiday leave is lawful.

How many vacation days are there for employees of the Minijob in Germany?

While Minijob employees do not normally work full-time, they are still entitled to holiday. This can be calculated with an easy formula.