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Vacation holiday in Germany. What is worth knowing?

Every employee employed is entitled to vacation holiday in Germany and has the right to a statutory number of days of annual leave. Its length depends on working days and seniority.

As in Poland, also in Germany an employee must apply for leave by submitting an application to the employer. He must give it to him, but not always within the time limit chosen by the employee, however he should take into account the employee’s request. The employer may refuse to grant leave to an employee within a given period if other employees have already applied for leave at the same time or if the company’s interests do not allow it

It should be remembered that in order to go on vacation, each employee must obtain the consent of the employer, otherwise he or she may be dismissed from work with immediate effect.

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Employees have the right to paid annual leave of at least 24 working days in a calendar year  . It is converted into 4 weeks of holiday per year, because Saturdays are included in business days. Full vacation entitlements do not take effect until six months after starting employment. If it lasts less than 6 months, you are entitled to a holiday on a pro-rata basis (two working days per month).

The issue of leave is regulated in the employment contract. In the case of employment relationships for which a collective agreement applies, the period of leave is usually higher. The provisions of the Act on the protection of working youth apply to young people. Depending on the age of the employee, this Act provides for up to 30 working days of annual leave.

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A leave must always be submitted to your employer in writing. Usually you are free to choose your vacation date. However, there are cases where the employer may limit this freedom or refuse you leave on the requested date because of the company’s interest, e.g. if there would be too few employees to ensure its functioning, if there were a sudden stacking of orders, if inventory was needed at the end of the year , etc.

Illness during holidays

In the event of illness during the leave, the employee has the right to interrupt the rest. You can read more about the disease during the holiday HERE .

Unpaid leave

After using paid leave, you can get unpaid leave if an employee needs extra days off due to urgent personal matters.

Read more information on German Laws and legislation here: Legal News and Guides – Germany

Extra holiday

In many collective agreements, a holiday allowance is provided in addition to remuneration for work. Persons with severe disability are entitled to additional paid leave (an additional 5 working days per year); people working shifts, shifts and at night.


Paid leave should be used until the end of the calendar year. If this does not happen for reasons attributable to the workplace or for important personal reasons (e.g. sickness of the employee), the employee shall expire on March 31 of the following year at the latest (the contract may indicate a later date). If the termination of employment resulted in the employee not having fully used his days off, he is entitled to a cash equivalent for the unused part of the leave.