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Jobs in Germany roundup: Berlin teacher shortage and what to know about holiday pay

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Jobs in Germany roundup: Berlin teacher shortage and what to know about holiday pay
A teacher talks to a class at a school in Baden-Württemberg. Berlin - like much of Germany - is facing a teaching shortage. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

From a teaching shortage to what employees should know about holiday pay entitlement, here's a round up of news and talking points on working life in Germany.


Schools in Berlin struggling with staff crisis

Berlin is facing a huge teacher shortage, an investigation by the Tagesspiegel found. 

Around 450 positions are currently unfilled at Berlin's schools, said the newspaper which analysed information from the capital's districts.  

Berlin's Senate Department for Education did not confirm the figures, but admitted that there are numerous vacancies.

"The need has increased significantly," said administration spokesman Martin Klesmann when asked about the lack of teachers.

There are around 33,000 teachers in the capital and about 325,000 pupils.

The shortage is connected to a a number of factors, including a growing number of pupils and staff leaving the profession. Klesmann said the Senate is actively trying to recruit more teachers.

As The Local has reported, German states have been struggling for years to deal with an increasing shortfall in teachers. Experts say that a cut back in funding for teacher training at universities combined with a growing birthrate and higher immigration have contributed to the problem.


Book off your Brückentage

It's hard to believe it but 2022 is just a few months away. So perhaps now is a good time to start thinking about next year's holidays. 

We've put together a guide on how you can best plan your vacation days and make the most of so-called Brückentage - bridge days.

READ MORE: How you can make the most of Germany's 2022 public holidays 

Tourism giant TUI says it will pay off government debt amid job cuts

German tourism giant TUI said on Wednesday it would raise over a billion euros selling stock to existing shareholders to pay off debt, reported AFP.

The world's largest tour operator's focus was "on refinancing and repaying government loans" now that the travel industry was taking off again, TUI CEO Fritz Joussen said in a statement.

TUI experienced a record loss of €3.1 billion ($3.6 billion) in 2019-2020 after its business was laid low by travel restrictions during the pandemic.

To weather the storm, the group received three bailout packages from the German government, totalling €4.3 billion.

The group announced a structuring programme in 2020, including the loss of 8,000 jobs worldwide and the sale of 20 percent of its fleet of aircraft.

TUI has its headquarters in Hanover plus a corporate office in Berlin. 


Berlin Start-up Gorillas sacks striking bike delivery couriers

Grocery delivery company Gorillas fired dozens of its riders this week for taking part in a series of strikes that have brought operations to a standstill.

On Friday, bicycle couriers from the Berlin-based start-up went on strike. But as the work stoppages are not organised by a recognised trade union, they are considered "wildcat strikes".

It comes amid months of escalating tensions between the Berlin-based start-up and employees. 

A spokesperson for the Gorillas told Tagesspiegel on Tuesday that after consideration the company will "terminate the employment relationship with those workers who actively participated in the unauthorised strikes and blockades, obstructed operations through their behaviour and thus endangered their colleagues".

The workers' collective "Gorillas Workers Collective" (GWC) organised the strikes. A spokeswoman said that workers at the three warehouses involved in the recent strikes had received dismissal notices.

The strikes have been held in a connection with a row over pay and conditions. 

Did you know?

Holiday pay entitlement

Every employee in Germany is entitled to annual leave. This entitlement was first laid down in the Federal Leave Act (BUrlG) in 1963. The statutory minimum leave for a five-day week is 20 days, for a four-day week it's 16 days.

However, this is only the lower limit - many companies nowadays offer around 30 days of annual leave. 

"In Germany, it is common to grant additional contractually agreed holiday days on top of that," Daniel Brügger, a specialist lawyer for labour law, told German news magazine Spiegel. 

If you are ill when you've booked holiday and have a sick note from a doctor, then your holiday days can be taken at another time when you're better. 

People in Baden-Württemberg get the highest wage

Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Hamburg are the German states that have the highest wages, according to the 2021 Gehaltsatlas (salary atlas).

The states with the lowest salaries are Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg.

And with its booming auto industry, Stuttgart is the state capital with the highest regional salary factor (125.1 percent above the national average earnings), followed by Munich (124.3 per cent), Düsseldorf (117.2 per cent) and Wiesbaden (114.9 per cent).

Useful links: 

Jobs in Germany: What an SPD-led government could mean for workers


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