L as in Leave

How much leave am I entitled to?

The statutory leave entitlement is 20 days per year for a five-day week.  This is a minimum entitlement that may not be fallen short of. Many employment contracts provide for additional paid time off. If you regularly work more or less than five days a week, the entitlement increases or decreases proportionately.

Does the employer have to grant me days off when I want it?

The specific day or period of time off desired by the employee must be approved by the employer. In doing so, the employer must take into account the wishes of the employee. The leave is to be granted contiguously, if possible.

In principle, leave days not taken in the calendar year are forfeited. In certain cases, time off entitlement may be carried over to the next calendar year. Stricter rules apply to the statutory minimum leave, resulting in some contracts making a strict distinction between statutory and additional time off entitlement.

In principle, these entitlements for the entire year already arises at the beginning of the year. The employee can therefore take his or her time off for the entire year as early as January, even if he or she is earning the time off during the course of the year. An exception to this rule applies if the employment relationship has existed for less than six months. In this case the time off is granted only proportionately. In principle, however, days off can also be taken during the probationary period.

Do I lose my leave entitlement if I am sick during my leave?

Employees who fall ill during their leave can get their leave entitlement back from the first day of illness if they present a doctor’s certificate.

Can I also have my leave paid off?

Time off can only be paid off in cash in exceptional cases. Only employees whose employment ends and who are unable to take their entitlement to leave, for example, for operational reasons or due to illness, can have their leave paid off.

Please note: This is a very general overview on german labor law. If you need help in your particular case, please do not hestitate to contact me or book your appointment. I’m happy to help.

Employee happily leaving work in a hawaiian shirt for his annual leave