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WORKING IN GERMANY

EXPLAINED: How you can make the most of Germany’s 2022 public holidays

Lots of Germany's public holidays fell on weekends in 2021, meaning most employees lost out on them. We look at the situation for 2022, and how you can make your vacation days go further.

A diary with 'Brückentag' or 'bridge day' noted inside it. You can start to plan how to make the most of your vacation days next year now
A diary with 'Brückentag' or 'bridge day' noted inside it. You can start to plan how to make the most of your vacation days next year now. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Patrick Pleul

Is 2022 a good year for public holidays in Germany?

It’s not brilliant. Due to Germany’s rule of not giving workers a day day off when a public holiday falls on a weekend – unlike in the UK or the US for instance – 2022 was recently described by German news magazine Spiegel as another “employer year”. 

That means that the majority of people lose out on some days off and you effectively have to work more than you would compared to public holiday-friendly years (thanks for that, Germany). 

But if you plan cleverly, you can squeeze out some more free time by taking so-called Brückentage (bridge days) off. 

Here’s a look at the German public holiday schedule in 2022 and how you can make it work for you. 

New Year

2022 got off to a disappointing start: January 1st – a public holiday in Germany – fell on a Saturday this year. As most people don’t work on the weekend, they wouldn’t have got a holiday for it because it’s already a day off.

Epiphany or Heilige Drei Könige/Three Kings Day (regional)

There’s some good news for people in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt – residents living here can look forward to a day off shortly after the turn of the year. On Thursday January 6th these states get a public holiday for Epiphany. By taking annual leave on January 7th (the magical so-called Brückentag we’ve been talking about), you can get four days off in a row.

READ ALSO: What you should know about Three Kings Day in Germany

Women’s Day (regional)

This is one for the Berliners. Step forward Women’s Day which takes place on Tuesday March 8th in 2022. Take Monday March 7th off to score a longer weekend. 

READ ALSO: What you should know about Frauentag, Berlin’s public holiday

Easter

At Easter we can always count on a long weekend in Germany. From Good Friday, which in 2022 falls on April 15th, to Easter Monday on April 18th, most people will get time off to relax. If you book time off as early as April 11th, you will get 10 days off in a row with four requested annual leave days.

Feiertag - or 'public holiday' is written in a diary.
Feiertag – or ‘public holiday’ is written in a diary. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Holger Hollemann

International Workers’ Day 

Despite it being a day for workers, May 1st fell on a Saturday in 2021 and therefore did not benefit the vast majority of workers. And in 2022 it – wait for it – takes place on a Sunday. So it doesn’t give many people an additional day off yet again. Poor show. 

Ascension Day or Christi Himmelfahrt/Father’s Day

But now onto another Christian holiday and lots of people are benefitting. As is the case every year, 40 days after Easter, the nationwide holiday of Ascension Day falls on a Thursday. In 2022 it will take place on May 26th. If you take a bridge day on May 27th, you can get four days off. It’s also known as Father’s Day in Germany and traditionally means lots of men go for a bike ride or hike and get drunk together. 

READ ALSO: Why Germans get wholly wasted on Ascension Day

Whitsun or Pfingsten/Pentecost

Whit Monday sees residents in Germany get a long weekend every year. In 2022, Whit Sunday is on June 5th and Whit Monday on June 6th. If you take a holiday from June 7th to 10th, you will get nine days off in a row.

In May and June there is also the possibility of extending the holiday by taking two public holidays during the week. If you take both the Friday after Ascension Day and the week before Whitsun, you will get 12 days off with six days of annual leave.

READ ALSO: What and where are Germany’s public holidays in 2021

Corpus Christi or Fronleichnam (regional)

For the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Corpus Christi is a public holiday on Thursday June 16th. Book June 17th off for another long weekend. 

Assumption Day or Maria Himmelfahrt (regional)

Employees in Bavaria and Saarland can enjoy another Catholic-origin public holiday on Monday August 15th. Taking Friday August 13th off would result in another bumper weekend.

World Children’s Day or Kindertag (regional)

Those living in the central-eastern state of Thuringia will get a day off in 2022 on Tuesday September 20th. Take the Brückentag off on Monday September 19th to make your holiday go further.

German Reunification Day or Tag der Deutschen Einheit

In 2021, German Unity Day happened on a Sunday. In 2022 October 3rd is on a Monday so more people will get the day off. Four days of requested annual leave afterwards would result in nine days off.

A light show on the Hesse parliament building in Wiesbaden marks German Reunification Day and the 75th birthday of the State of Hesse on October 3rd 2021.
A light show on the Hesse parliament building in Wiesbaden marks German Reunification Day and the 75th birthday of the State of Hesse on October 3rd 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

Reformation Day or Reformationstag (regional)

In 2021 Reformation Day fell on Sunday October 31st. But in 2022 it’s a Monday. The states of Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia get a day off on this Protestant-origin holiday. Take Friday October 28th off for another four-day weekend.

All Saints’ Day or Allerheiligen (regional)

Those living in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland will get Tuesday November 1st off in 2022. Book Monday October 31st bridge day off if you’d like some more time to rest. 

Day of Prayer and Repentance or Buß und Bettag (regional)

Residents in Saxony will get a day off on Wednesday November 16th 2022 for ‘Buß und Bettag’. Book the 17th and 18th as annual leave for five days off in a row.

READ ALSO: What’s behind the Saxon public holiday of Buß und Bettag? 

Christmas holidays 

In 2021 both December 25th and 26th fell on a weekend. In 2022, December 25th is on a Sunday as is New Year’s Day 2023. But Boxing Day on December 26th is on a Monday so most people will get a public holiday for it. Phew. 

Fireworks go off at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on January 1st 2021.
Fireworks go off at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on January 1st 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Dates for your diary: a glance at the public holidays in Germany across states in 2022 

New Year’s Day – Saturday January 1st 2022: all federal states

Epiphany – Thursday January 6th 2022: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt

International Women’s Day: Tuesday March 8th 2022: Berlin

Good Friday – Friday April 15th 2022: all federal states

Easter Monday – Monday April 18th 2022: all federal states

Labour/Workers’ Day – Sunday May 1st 2022: all federal states

Ascension Day – Thursday May 26th 2022: all federal states

Whit Monday – Monday June 6th 2022: all federal states

Corpus Christi – Thursday June 16th 2022: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland

Assumption – Monday August 15th 2022: Bavaria, Saarland

World Children’s Day – Tuesday September 20th 2022: Thuringia

German Unity Day – Monday October 3rd 2022: all federal states

Reformation Day – Monday, October 31st 2022: Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia

All Saints’ Day – Tuesday November 1st 2022: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland

Day of Prayer and Repentance – Wednesday 16th November 2022: Saxony

Christmas Day – Sunday December 25th 2022: all federal states

Boxing Day – Monday December 26th 2022: all federal states

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MONEY

What to know about German parcel delivery price hikes

People sending packages in Germany face higher costs after Deutsche Post subsidiary DHL announced it will increase prices from July.

What to know about German parcel delivery price hikes

Under the changes, sending some packages will become more expensive, both within Germany and internationally.

Logistics group DHL said the price hikes were due to several factors. 

“Increased transport, delivery and wage costs, as well as general cost increases, make price rises in national and cross-border parcel shipping unavoidable,” the company said. 

Meanwhile, there will no longer be a price advantage for buying parcel and package stamps online for domestic shipments. 

The different prices for labels bought online or in store will remain in place for international-bound parcels.

The changes come into force on July 1st.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why people in Germany are being charged to receive small parcels from outside the EU

What are the changes for domestic-bound packages?

The branch and online prices in the product category ‘Päckchen S’ will rise to €3.99 from €3.79.

The price for ‘Päckchen M’ will be €4.79 from July, up from €4.50 for a store-bought label, and €4.39 online. 

The price for the two-kilogram parcel, which is only available online, will rise to €5.49 from €4.99.

Packset and Pluspäckchen products will also cost slightly more due to the increase in paper costs, said DHL. 

However, the price to send a 5kg parcel is going down – it will be €6.99 instead of €7.49.

Prices for the 10kg and 31.5kg parcels will remain unchanged.

A DHL delivery worker carries packages.

A DHL delivery worker carries packages. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Jan Woitas

What’s changing for sending packages abroad?

The cost of many cross-border parcel and small package shipments from Germany will also increase. The logistics company said that’s because of the hike in flight rates as well as higher costs charged by other delivery firms.

The firm said it was “partially passing on to customers what are in some cases steep increases in airfares and the substantial rise in costs charged by delivery partners abroad”. 

There are particularly large price hikes for shipments to the United States.

For instance, from July it will cost €49.99 to send a package weighing up to 5kg to the US (zone 5 in Deutsche Post’s price chart) rather than €38.99. The online price for the same product will be €47.99 instead of €36.99.

The price of sending a packet weighing up to 10kg to the US will go up to €79.99 instead of €54.99. 

For an overview of the new prices, check out this chart. 

READ ALSO: How to challenge high import fees on non-EU parcels in Germany

Are there any other changes to know about?

Deutsche Post says the €1.70 customs data entry fee for shipments to non-EU countries franked at retail outlets will no longer apply from July 1st.

Instead, it will be incorporated directly into the respective retail outlet prices for non-EU shipments at a rate of €1.

The company is also pushing its sustainability strategy, with its GoGreen service being included for all products from July 1st, 2022, without customers having to pay a surcharge. “This is already the case for domestic parcel shipments,” said the firm. 

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