Important and/or distinctive aspects of holiday/annual leave legislation in Germany
Additional regulations: In addition to the Federal Vacation Act there are additional supplementary regulations, including for additional enhanced annual leave for severely disabled persons and annual leave for young employees or employees who work from home. There are collective bargaining agreements as well as works agreements which also apply to annual leave.
Recent decisions: The most important recent decision of the German Federal Labour Court dealt with whether all or part of an employee's annual leave entitlement is forfeited where the employee is unable to take annual leave due to sickness. Contrary to previous case law of the Federal Labour Court, following the Schultz-Hoff judgment of the European Court of Justice, the Federal Labour Court decided that an employee retains their annual leave entitlement during sick leave periods.
The German Federal Labour Court has also decided that an employee does not have a double annual leave entitlement if they work for two employers in one year. The employee has to inform their new employer that they have not received their full annual entitlement leave with their former employer. The new employer must then grant the rest of the entitlement or compensate the employee with payment.
The German Federal Labour Court also decided that it does not amount to age discrimination if older employees get more paid annual leave than their younger colleagues. The employer has a certain margin of discretion when it comes to annual leave arrangements. Older employees need more time to recover from physical work so more paid annual leave may be part of the employer’s duty of care towards its employees.
According to a decision of the European Court of Justice an employer has to satisfy the annual leave entitlement of a deceased employee by paying money to the employee's estate.