How are annual leaves regulated in Germany?

In Germany, annual leave, often referred to as "holiday" or "vacation" ('Urlaub'), is an important aspect of employment law and is outlined in the Federal Holiday Act ('Bundesurlaubgesetz' a.k.a. BUrlG). Here's an explanation of annual leave in Germany:

  1. Entitlement: In Germany, employees are entitled to a minimum of 24 working days of paid annual leave per year, based on a 6-day work week. When the standard work week in a company is less than six days, the number of vacation days should be adjusted accordingly. For example, if an employee works five days per week, e.g. Monday - Friday, the annual leave entitlement is 20 days paid annual leave per year.

  2. Accrual: Annual leave typically accrues on a pro-rata basis. This means that an employee generally does not have the full entitlement of annual leave in the first year of employment. The exact accrual rate may vary based on company policies, meaning if an employer is happy to approve the request, it can be approved.

  3. Scheduling: The timing of annual leave is usually negotiated between the employer and the employee. Employers are encouraged to consider the employee's wishes when scheduling vacation, but the final decision is at the employer's discretion. However, employers must take into account the employee's need for recreation and recovery when scheduling annual leave.

  4. Payment: During annual leave, employees receive their regular salary. This means that they are paid as if they were working, and their regular income is not affected by taking vacation.

  5. Notice and Approval: Employees are generally required to provide notice to their employer before taking annual leave. The notice period is usually set by the employment contract or company policies. Employers have the right to deny vacation requests in cases where it may disrupt business operations.

  6. Public Holidays: If a public holiday falls during an employee's annual leave, it is not typically counted as a vacation day, and the employee is usually entitled to take another day off.

  7. Carry-Over: In general, annual leave cannot be carried over from one year to the next. However, there can be exceptions which would be outlined in the individual employment contracts. Any leave which is not taken by March 31st of the subsequent year is automatically forfeited by the employee. 

It's important for both employers and employees to understand the specific terms and conditions related to annual leave, which are usually outlined in the employment contract. 

We hope you found this article to be helpful. Please reach out to if you require further information about annual leave in Germany.

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