Working in Germany For Members

How many vacation days are you entitled to if you leave your job in Germany?

Paul Krantz
Paul Krantz - [email protected]
How many vacation days are you entitled to if you leave your job in Germany?
Whether you leave your job in Germany or are laid off, you're entitled to paid vacation time depending on the time of the year. Pictured is a beach in the summer. Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

When you leave a job in Germany, you are entitled to claim the remaining holiday time owed. We unpack just how many vacation days employees are entitled to.


A job termination (Kündigung) can be a tumultuous time, often accompanying other big life changes. But in Germany, at the very least, you'll be given some extra paid time off to reflect on any coming adjustments, because you are entitled to claim the remaining vacation time owed.

Whether you resign or are laid off by your employer, when you leave a job in Germany, employee protections kick in to ensure that you must be receive the amount of paid vacation days that you have earned according to your work contract. 

How many vacation days should I get?

According to the Federal Leave Act (BUrlG), employees are entitled to a minimum of 24 days of vacation per year with a six-day week, or 20 days of vacation per year on a five-day week. 

Some employees may get more vacation days as agreed in their employment contract, or a collective bargaining agreement.

READ ALSO: The 'special' days when workers in Germany can get paid time off

How many vacation days you'll get if you find yourself out of a job depends on how long you've been with the company and at what point of the year you leave. 

Vacation days are paid out differently depending if the job termination occurs in the first or second half of the year. So if you are keen to max out your vacation day pay out, you might want to consider putting off your resignation until after June 30th.

If your job ends by June 30th, you’re entitled to one twelfth of the annual leave for each full month you've worked there. This includes the minimum vacation days required by law as well as any additional days as stated in your contract. Any remaining fractions of days are to be added up, and if a half day is left over it is rounded up to the nearest day.

The same applies if you’ve worked at a job for six months or less.


If your job ends in the second half of the year, you're entitled to the complete minimum vacation days for the year. 

However, if your contract contains a “pro rata temporis clause” then your remaining leave may be calculated according to how many months you’ve worked this year - as opposed to receiving the full annual amount.

How leave is granted or paid out 

Typically employers must grant all of the remaining vacation entitlement in the form of days off, and they have to consider the employee’s time preferences. 

Only urgent operational circumstances would allow an employer to deny the employee's request in this regard. For example, if you need to train a successor during your remaining working days, or if too many colleagues are already taking vacation.

Having too much work to be done would not be a valid reason to deny vacation leave in this case.

In the event that you are unable to take vacation days during your remaining time at a company, then your vacation days must be paid out.

The pay rate for vacation time is based on your average earnings during the 13 weeks prior to termination, including your salary as well as any bonuses but not including overtime pay.

READ ALSO: What days will workers in Germany get off in 2024?

It is possible to waive your holiday entitlement as part of an agreement with your employer, for example to negotiate a better severance package.




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