In Germany, there are always disputes between employers and employees regarding holidays. Employers and employees are often unable to agree on the periods during which leave is to be taken.
The legislation stipulates that, if possible, holidays are granted for several days in a row so that the effect of the holiday is correspondingly significant. However, in practice, many employees naturally take one or two days off on “bridging days” to extend a weekend. Would it not then be possible to take half days off?
At least this is not forbidden in the Federal Holidays Law. However, the law stipulates that annual leave must be granted in a continuous manner. The purpose of the holiday is, according to the legislation, the employee’s recreation. In the opinion of the Federal Labor Court, this is also guaranteed above all if the annual leave is granted contiguously.
Employees are not entitled to half a holiday
It is therefore not surprising that the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Baden-Württemberg (“Baden-Württemberg Regional Labor Court”) decided at the beginning of 2019 that employees are not entitled to half a day’s holiday. The LAG now goes even further in its decision and states that such a granting of leave could not fulfil the employee’s holiday entitlement. Consequently, “half vacation days” would not even have an impact on the employee’s vacation time. Though the employee would have a free (half) vacation day, he would still have just as much vacation to claim from his employer as before.
Half vacation days only with contractual additional vacation
It is only possible for employers and employees to deviate from this in the case of contractually agreed additional leave – i.e. the leave that goes beyond the statutory leave in accordance with the Federal Holidays Law.
However, an employment contract regulation is also necessary with regard to the contractually granted additional leave, which differentiates precisely between the statutory minimum leave and the contractually granted additional leave.
We would be pleased to help you with the drafting of corresponding employment contracts and holiday agreements.