What type of leaves are employees entitle to in Germany?

In Germany, employees are entitled to various types of leave, governed by federal laws, collective agreements, and individual employment contracts. These include:

Annual Paid Leave

  • Holiday Leave: Employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 working days of paid annual leave per year, based on a 5-day workweek, or 24 days for a 6-day workweek. Many employers offer more than the statutory minimum, often around 25 to 30 days.

Public Holidays

  • Public Holidays: The number of public holidays varies by federal state, and employees are entitled to have these days off with pay.

Health-Related Leave

  • Sick Leave: Employees can take sick leave if they are unable to work due to illness. They are required to notify their employer immediately and, if the illness lasts longer than three days, must provide a doctor's note. Employees are entitled to continued payment by their employer for up to six weeks. After this period, health insurance provides sickness benefits for up to 78 weeks.

Family-Related Leave

  • Maternity Leave: Pregnant employees are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave, with 6 weeks before the due date and 8 weeks after childbirth, extended to 12 weeks for premature or multiple births. They receive Maternity Protection Pay (Mutterschutzlohn), which is roughly their average income in the last three months before the start of maternity protection.
  • Paternity Leave: While there's no specific paternity leave, fathers can use parental leave to spend time with their newborn.
  • Parental Leave (Elternzeit): Both parents have the right to take up to three years of parental leave per child, which can be divided between them. Parents can take this leave simultaneously or separately, and part of it can be saved for use until the child turns eight. During parental leave, employment is protected, and parents can choose to work part-time up to 30 hours per week. Parental benefits (Elterngeld) partially compensate for lost income during this period.

Special Leaves

  • Educational Leave (Bildungsurlaub): Employees are entitled to educational leave for professional development, varying by federal state, usually around 5 working days per year.
  • Bereavement Leave: There is no statutory bereavement leave in Germany, but most employers grant a few days off for the death of close family members.
  • Care Leave: Employees have the right to take time off to care for seriously ill family members. There are two types: short-term leave up to 10 days for emergency situations and longer-term care leave, which allows employees to reduce their working hours or take full leave for up to six months.

The availability of these leaves and the specific conditions under which they can be taken often depend on the specific employment contract, collective bargaining agreements, and applicable federal state laws. Employees should consult their HR department or works council (Betriebsrat) for detailed information about their entitlements and the process for availing these leaves.

Was this article helpful?

That’s Great!

Thank you for your feedback

Sorry! We couldn't be helpful

Thank you for your feedback

Let us know how can we improve this article!

Select atleast one of the reasons

Feedback sent

We appreciate your effort and will try to fix the article