Holidays

Parental leave and vacation entitlement – a complex matter for employers

The problem Vacation entitlements – a matter that has undergone so many changes lately that the author can no longer even think of a suitable introduction. However this article focuses on a recent decision of the Federal Labour Court (19 March 2019, docket number: 9 AZR 495/17) in which the court explained the connections between holiday and parental leave. The applicant was a former employee who was on parental leave for six years before terminating her employment at the end of her leave. Following her dismissal, she claimed compensation for leave over the last six years, since she had not …

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NEW CHALLENGES FOR VACATION ENTITLEMENT

1. The problem German vacation law has changed considerably in recent years. The most current question to be decided by both the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) concerned the expiration of vacation entitlements. German law (Sec. 7 para. 3 German Vacation Act, BUrlG) provides that the outstanding vacation entitlement expires at the end of the year. If employees do not assert the vacation claim in time, it is therefore lost at the end of the year. However. on 6 November 2018, the ECJ (docket number: C-684/16) ruled that the employer must inform the …

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Micro vacation – a gigantic problem?

On March, 6 2019 the State Labour Court Baden Wurttemberg (docket number 4 Sa 73/18) decided that half day vacation does not fulfil the legal requirements where employees don’t have an entitlement to request such micro vacation. In the case at issue, the plaintiff filed legal cause against his employer demanding his right to be granted a half day vacation at least 8 times a year. The employer withdraw this request, arguing there was no entitlement to half day vacations but only to vacation for a longer period. Furthermore the expenses resulting out of granting half day vacation were not …

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Unpaid leave allows for reduced vacation entitlement

In its recent decision dated 19 March 2019 the Federal Labour Court ruled that periods of unpaid leave will not be taken into consideration when calculating statutory vacation entitlements (docket number 9 AZR 315/17). In the case at hand, the employee had taken unpaid leave from 1 September 2013 until 31 August 2015. Upon returning to work, she requested statutory vacation days for 2014. Under statutory law, employees are entitled to 24 days of paid vacation based on a 6 day work week. If the employee works fewer than 6 days, the entitlement is calculated pro rata based on the …

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ECJ: Death of the employee does not cancel holiday compensation – this also applies to private employers

What happens to open holiday entitlements when the employee dies? It is clear that nobody else – not even the heirs – gets the holiday granted (as free time) . Nevertheless, European and German holiday law provide for compensation for untaken leave in special cases. However, this only occurs if it was not possible to claim the leave. It was questionable whether the death of the employee is such a case. This was already clearly confirmed by the ECJ in a decision in 2014 (ECJ from 12. June 2014 – docket number C-118/13 – Bollacke). I. Compensation for death (and …

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Employer’s financial risks in the event of not granting annual leave

I. Holiday right: Germany and Europe In principle, every employee is entitled to annual leave – as emphasized by German law as well as EU law (Art. 7 (1) and (2) directive 2003/88/EC. In addition, the holiday must be taken during the current year (sec. 7 (3) Federal leave Act (“Bundesurlaubsgesetz – BUrlG”). A transfer to subsequent years is generally inadmissible (sec. 7 (3) BUrlG). Holiday can only be transferred to the following year in special cases and then only to be used within three months. However, employment contracts or collective agreements often provide for the possibility of a longer …

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What happens to accumulated vacation entitlements when switching from full to part-time work?

On June 11, 2014 the Higher Labour Court of Lower Saxony (Landesarbeitsgericht – LAG) dealt with the disadvantageous recalculation of unused accrued annual vacation when switching from full-time to part-time work. In accordance with a recent decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the court held that when employees change their working hours from full-time to part-time, the amount of vacation not taken may not be adjusted in such a way that the accumulated paid vacation is reduced proportionally to the new working hours. The employee was employed full-time under an employment contract entered into in 2009. In 2010, …

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The heat is on….are employees entitled to “Hitzefrei”?

The temperature in Germany has been above 25 °C (77°F) for the past few weeks and many employees might wonder whether they are entitled to a day off due to the excessive heat (“hitzefrei” as it is called in Germany). According to Sec. 3 of the Labour Protection Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz, ArbSchG), the employer is obligated to take the necessary measures to protect the employee’s health and safety in the workplace. If the employer is not sure which measures he is required to take, he should look into the “Technical Rules for Work Places” (Technische Regeln für Arbeitsstätten, ASR A3.5). According …

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The Ins and Outs of German Vacation Time and Vacation Pay

As we approach summer many employers start to intensify their staff’s vacation planning.  Vacation regulations in Germany are not as straightforward as many employers might think. Today’s blog therefore aims to provide a basic overview on German vacation rules for employers. How much vacation pay and time are employees entitled to? Starting off with the basics, German employment legislation already entitles an employee to a minimum vacation time after only one full month of employment. Surprisingly, the full annual vacation entitlement is gained after six consecutive months of employment. The statutory minimum amount of time off an employer must grant …

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Use it or lose it? Can employees carry over vacation beyond March 31?

As March 31 is a key date for the expiry of holiday entitlement in Germany, we want to provide you with a short update regarding holiday entitlements under German law. Pursuant to the Federal Vacation Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz, BUrlG) every employee is entitled to a minimum of 24 paid days of vacation based on a 6 day working week. As most employees nowadays have 5 day working weeks, they are entitled to 20 days of statutory paid vacation, unless a collective bargaining agreement or the individual employment contract grants more than 20 days of paid vacation. In general, employees must take …

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