The statutory minimum entitlement to leave is 24 working days per year (Bundesurlaubsgesetz - the Federal Holidays Act). Special rules apply to certain groups of people, including young people under the age of 18 and disabled people.
Collective agreements stipulate leave of 30 working days for most employees. A person’s salary continues to be paid in full during this period. Anyone who consistently performs heavy or harmful work will normally receive additional leave. Some collective wage agreements include arrangements for fortunate and unfortunate events in one’s private life. For instance, some employers grant single and additional days of special leave for marriage, death of a close relative or for moving house if you are transferred to a different location. Full entitlement to leave is acquired only after the employment relationship has been in existence for six months. Make sure you come to an agreement on holidays with your employer and colleagues in good time.
There are clear rules governing absence on grounds of illness. In the event of illness, an employee must, as soon as possible, inform the employer of his incapacity for work and the anticipated duration of that incapacity. In the case of illness lasting longer than three days, an employee must submit a doctor’s certificate no later than the following working day.
During parental leave, the employer exempts parents from work without pay to look after their child. Therefore, the employment relationship is suspended during parental leave. However, ‘parental leave’ also gives male and female employees the opportunity to work part-time so that they are able to devote themselves to their child and at the same time keep up with their job. Each parent is entitled to parental leave to look after and bring up their child until it reaches the age of three.
Employees can take educational leave for the purpose of their further training. The Federal Länder have their own laws on educational leave, which govern paid leave from work. You can use this for your own political education, language courses (for example, ‘German as a foreign language’) or for your further vocational training. As for annual leave, you should agree arrangements for educational leave with your employer at an early stage.
Text last edited on: 06/2010
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