Deadline December 31: How to save your remaining leave for the new year

Published On: 30.May.2022Categories: Working worldTags: 2 min read
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Christina Schröder writes about legal topics for the Love & Law Blog at Recht 24/7.

Leftover vacation days at the end of the year are actually a reason to be happy. But they can also cause trouble. This is when it is not possible to carry them over into the new year.

Life punishes those who are late. This not only applies to buying Christmas presents, but many employees also experience this with their vacation planning. The reason: vacation days saved up until the end of the year – for example, to take time off around the turn of the year and afterwards – can expire in accordance with Section 7 (3) of the German Federal Vacation Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz – BUrlG). This states: “Leave must be granted and taken in the current calendar year.”

No forfeiture without notification from the boss

According to EU law, however, vacation days not taken may not expire automatically. In a landmark ruling from 2018, the European Court of Justice holds employers accountable. They must formally request affected employees to submit their leave in good time. They must also explicitly point out that it will otherwise be forfeited. For further information: The ECJ ruling in full text (Ref.: Ref. C-619/16).

Transfer possible in exceptional cases

In individual cases, employees can automatically take unused vacation days into the new year. For example, if the leave could not be taken due to large orders or a particularly high incidence of illness among the workforce. Even if an employee was unable to take vacation for personal reasons (illness, maternity leave, parental leave), it is automatically carried over into the new year. In these cases, the leave must be taken by March 31 of the following year at the latest. Good to know: The remaining leave is automatically carried over to the following year. It is not necessary to apply to your line manager.

Observe special regulations!

Although the Vacation Act restricts the taking of vacation days into the following year, employment and collective agreements as well as company agreements may contain deviating regulations. It is not uncommon for these to be in the employee’s favor. So if you find yourself with unused vacation days at the end of the year, you should first talk to your line manager. It is often possible to find an amicable solution that satisfies both sides.

Your employer refuses to postpone your remaining vacation to the following year, even though you have good reasons for doing so? Recht 24/7 can help you. We will check your vacation entitlement, advise you on how to proceed and take care of the written correspondence with your boss.

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