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Partial claim to statutory vacation with a start date on 1 July

If an employment relationships starts on 1 July and lasts through 31 December of that year, the employee will only be entitled to a partial claim to statutory vacation according to a judgment by the Hamm Higher Regional Labour Court (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG; judgment dated February 19, 2015, docket number 16 Sa 1207/14).

In the case at hand, the employee worked for the employer from July 1, 2013 until January 2, 2014. Upon the end of his employment relationship, the employee claimed payment in lieu of holidays not taken and argued that he was entitled to a full vacation claim for the year 2013. Under sec. 4 of the German Federal Vacation Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz, BUrlG), employees earn their full statutory vacation entitlement after a waiting period of 6 months. Sec. 5 para. 1 of the German Federal Vacation Act provides for cases in which only a partial vacation entitlement is earned. This includes times during which employees do not earn a full vacation entitlement since they have not completed the waiting period, cases when employees leave their job before completion of the waiting period and cases when employees leave within the first half of the calendar year after completion of the waiting period.

Applying these provisions, the court held that the employee was only entitled to a partial vacation claim for the year 2013. While the waiting period was completed on December 31, 2013, the calendar year during which the vacation was to be taken ended at the same time. It was thus impossible to take the vacation during the relevant year as the full vacation entitlement only arises after completion of the waiting period. The employee was therefore only entitled to a vacation claim in the partial amount, ie half of the annual entitlement.