Leave Laws in Germany

Working in Germany means employees are entitled to time off for holidays, sickness, and care, as well as in case of childbirth. Here are the details of the leave laws in Germany:

Holiday Leave
In Germany, full-time employees are entitled to a minimum of 24 days of paid annual holiday for a six-day working week. For part-time employees, the holiday leave is calculated pro-rata, which depends on their weekly working hours.
In practice, employers give their workers more holidays- between 27 to 30 days- during the year, excluding public holidays. Sometimes, workers are allowed to take extra days off in exchange for a cut in their salaries. The number of holidays a worker can receive is detailed in his work contract. Legally, workers are allowed to carry their holidays forward until March 31 if they were unable to retain it due to illness or operational reasons.

Leftover Holiday Entitlement
In case you want to leave your job but have unused accumulated holidays, workers are allowed to claim remuneration from their employers for the holidays not utilized. Some employers may require workers to use up their holidays during their notice period.

Sick Leave
Falling ill on a workday means that the worker must report to the employer. Most companies will have a standard process for calling in sick, which requires the worker to contact the manager and someone from the HR department.
As opposed to several other countries, taking time off when sick is not discouraged in Germany. In fact, it is encouraged. Workers are expected to prioritize their health and take time to recover. If a worker falls sick during his holiday leave, some companies will count the holiday as sick leave. However, the rules may differ when working for an international company instead of a local German company. Workers who have been employed at a company for longer than four-weeks may take six weeks of sick pay. After the six-week period, they are entitled to sickness benefits.

Maternity Leave
Becoming pregnant in Germany means that mothers are entitled to fourteen weeks of maternity leave. This includes six weeks before the child is born and eight weeks after. In case of premature birth, multiple births, or complications with childbirth, mothers are allowed eighteen weeks of leave from work.

Paternal Leave
Under a new German law, fathers are also allowed to take leave from work in case of childbirth, under a general Parental Leave of up to 3 years to take care of a newborn until the child turns 3 years of age. Both parents can use the parental allowance to alleviate any loss of their earnings during this period. They can choose to avail the parental leave anytime between their child’s birth and third birthday and can take the leave simultaneously or separately. They are allowed to claim parental leave if:

  • Either or both partners are employed part-time or on a contractual basis. This law does not imply to those who are self-employed
  • Either or both partners live with their child in one house
  • Both partners care for the child together
  • Either or both partners do not work more than 30 hours a week while availing parental leave

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