Planning annual leave in times of pandemic

Published On: 09.June.2022Categories: Working worldTags: 2 min read
Urlaub in der Pandemie
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Christina Schröder writes about legal topics for the Love & Law Blog at Recht 24/7.

It is common practice for employees to schedule their vacation at the beginning of the year. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is putting a spanner in the works for permanent employees who like to travel. Flexibility and spontaneity are now required – and not least the goodwill of the boss.

Before coronavirus, it was easy to decide on annual leave at the beginning of the year, but now many employees no longer want to commit early. There is too much uncertainty about how the pandemic will develop and whether it will even be possible to travel to the destination country at the desired time. This is also a problem for employers. After all, it is detrimental to the company if the offices are empty in the summer and there may be too few workers available for upcoming orders, because traveling is at its best in times of low incidence.

When do I have to apply for vacation?

There is no statutory regulation in Germany. However, many employment and collective bargaining agreements contain clauses stating when leave must be applied for. If there is no such agreement, it is usually sufficient to submit the vacation at least 2 weeks before the start date. This is an advantage in times of coronavirus, as it allows travel enthusiasts to book their vacation spontaneously and at short notice, depending on the current situation.

Do I have to take my entire annual vacation in advance?

Two weeks at the beach in summer, a few days hiking in the fall and Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in the mountains? That is possible! Employees do not have to plan all their vacation days at the beginning of the year. They can save up vacation days – for a spontaneous short trip, for example. However, there may be disadvantages. If other colleagues have already taken vacation during the desired period, the boss can reject the vacation request. Even if this was submitted at least 2 weeks before the start of the vacation.

Changed coronavirus situation: can I postpone my vacation?

The vacation has been approved, but then this: the number of coronavirus cases is soaring in the destination country. Employees are now dependent on the goodwill of their boss. After all, leave that has already been approved cannot be unilaterally postponed. In many cases, a personal discussion with the line manager can help. They must take the personal interests of their employees into account. For example, employees with similar jobs can swap their vacation times – and enjoy their well-deserved vacation at a different time.

Is your employer refusing to grant you leave during coronavirus times, citing your employment contract? As part of our contract review, Recht 24/7 will check your contractual vacation entitlement and advise you on the best way to enforce your claims.

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