Vacation entitlement and parental leave
What to consider
The birth of your child is fast approaching and you have decided to register parental leave with your employer. In the following, we will inform you about the following topics: Vacation entitlement during parental leave, vacation entitlement before parental leave, vacation entitlement after parental leave, remaining vacation, and vacation entitlement for part-time work.
Some examples will illustrate what vacation entitlement during parental leave can look like and how vacation entitlement is calculated. You will learn what differences there are in a continuing employment relationship as well as in the case of termination of the employment relationship and which laws must be observed.
The most important facts at a glance
- Your remaining vacation does not expire due to parental leave
- Employer may reduce vacation (but only for full months by 1/12 of the annual vacation)
- You are entitled to vacation even if you work part-time
- Vacation entitlement does not expire after termination during parental leave
- Vacation may not be reduced during or because of maternity leave
Vacation entitlement during parental leave
Anyone who is in an employment relationship and wishes to apply for parental leave from their employer must not only comply with the legally required deadlines and periods. Your parental leave also directly affects your vacation entitlement.
Recreational vacation from the parental leave period
Note that your employer may reduce your vacation entitlement by one twelfth for each full calendar month of parental leave. You can find the legal basis for this in the § Section 17 of the Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act. For example, if you declare 12 months of parental leave and are not entitled to pay during those months, you may lose an entire year’s worth of leave.
If you end your parental leave on the penultimate day of a month, you will receive full vacation entitlement for that month. However, please make sure that you do not unintentionally pursue gainful employment while receiving parental allowance.
Residual vacation before parental leave
Employees on parental leave are fully entitled by law to their remaining vacation before the start of parental leave. They can therefore still take the remaining vacation after parental leave.
The remaining vacation must be used in the calendar year following the parental leave. Residual leave that you were unable to use in the current calendar year due to parental leave must still be granted by the employer in the following vacation year.
If you are expecting another child during parental leave and register for additional parental leave, your remaining vacation will also be carried over to the period thereafter in this case.
If your employment is terminated during or after parental leave, you will most likely be entitled to payment of your remaining vacation. Your employer can only reduce your vacation after parental leave if you had already taken more vacation days before parental leave.
Vacation entitlement in part-time
If you (continue to) work part-time during parental leave, the BEEG does not provide for any reductions in your vacation entitlement. If your working hours change in such a way that you work fewer days per week, for example because the distribution of weekly working hours is changed to fewer days, the employer may reduce your vacation on the basis of the employment or collective agreement. If you are unclear, you should always contact the HR department at the company. If you are employed part-time by a new employer during parental leave, your vacation entitlement may be reduced by your previous employer. However, you will normally receive an additional entitlement to vacation at the same time with your new employer.
Vacation entitlement when changing from full-time to part-time due to parental leave
In the BEEG (Federal Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act) is stipulated that part-time parents need not fear a reduction in vacation during parental leave. This means that your full vacation entitlement for the respective calendar month is retained, even if you only work one day in that month. However, in addition to the BEEG, you should also observe the provisions of your employment or collective agreement and clarify whether your employer reserves the right to reduce your vacation if you reduce the number of working days per week during parental leave. Thus, if you reduce your working time during parental leave from 5 working days to 3 working days per week and there are contractual provisions of a reduction, your employer may reduce your leave entitlement accordingly. If you have acquired entitlement to leave from full-time employment prior to your parental leave as old leave, you are entitled to the full amount based on full-time employment.
Calculate vacation entitlement parental leave
Your entitlement to vacation for parental leave is calculated by reducing the total vacation by one-twelfth for each full calendar month without entitlement to pay/remuneration. If, for example, you claim parental leave for 2 months of your child’s life and this means that you are not entitled to remuneration for a full calendar month, the employer may reduce the annual vacation entitlement by 1/12.
We therefore recommend that you take this into account accordingly when planning your parental leave and parental allowance. Based on Section 17 (4) BEEG, it is also possible for the employer to reduce your vacation days after parental leave by the number of vacation days that you received in excess before parental leave.
In principle, mothers are entitled to the specified vacation days despite maternity leave and vacation does not expire during maternity leave. You also do not have to apply for leave for the period of maternity leave, as you are exempted by law for this time.
How is vacation calculated during parental leave?
Vacation entitlement parental leave examples
Below, we have compiled some examples of vacation entitlement and parental leave.
A father has a vacation entitlement of 30 days in a calendar year. He was on parental leave for 3 full calendar months and was not entitled to pay on any day during the 3 months. The total vacation is reduced by 3/12. After the reduction, he is still entitled to 22.5 vacation days (usually rounded up to 23).
Before parental leave, you worked full-time and had a vacation entitlement of 30 days. From July 1, you switch to parental leave for 6 months and work part-time within these months. In addition, your employment contract does not provide for any further reduction regulations. In this case, your vacation entitlement remains at 30 vacation days.
One parent has a vacation entitlement of 28 calendar days. Parental leave begins on September 4, 2022 and ends on January 3, 2023. In this case, the months of October, November and December are used in full for parental leave and no work is performed (= no entitlement to remuneration). The vacation entitlement is therefore reduced by 3/12 from 28 to 21 vacation days due to the months in parental leave.
Vacation entitlement parental leave with continued employment relationship
On the basis of the § 3 of the Federal Vacation Act you are entitled to a minimum of 24 days’ vacation per year for a 5-day work week. In principle, you are also entitled to this minimum vacation during parental leave. However, your employer can inform you with confirmation of the parental leave and even after the parental leave that it will reduce your vacation entitlement by one-twelfth per calendar month without pay entitlement. Thus, insofar as you will be on parental leave for complete calendar months without pay entitlement, your employer may assert a reduction declaration (pursuant to Section 17 (1) sentence 1BEEG).
You should also note any other provisions in your employment or collective bargaining agreement. If you still have residual vacation from the period before parental leave and your employer has not issued a reduction declaration, you can still assert this entitlement after parental leave.
Vacation entitlement parental leave upon termination of the employment relationship
Your employer must pay out your vacation in the event of termination of employment. This is the case if the employment relationship ends during or at the end of parental leave. The basis for payment is the remuneration during full-time employment. If the employer does not notify the reduction declaration in accordance with Section 17 (1) sentence 1 BEEG until after the end of the employment relationship, this is not legally binding.
The vacation entitlement – including that from parental leave – would therefore not expire and you can expect the compensation payment for your remaining vacation before parental leave as well as for all vacation entitlements during parental leave.
Vacation entitlement before parental leave
Vacation entitlement that you acquired before parental leave does not expire. This regulation is based on Section 17 (2) BEEG. It is also stipulated that you must use leave that you were not able to take before parental leave, or that you were not able to take completely, after your parental leave within the then current or next vacation year. The transfer of remaining vacation also applies if you have another child during your parental leave and extend your current parental leave by an additional parental leave.
Calculate vacation entitlement before parental leave
To calculate your vacation entitlement before parental leave, divide your fixed vacation entitlement for a calendar year by the regular working days per week. Then multiply the result by the number of your actual working days per week. For example, if you are entitled to 24 vacation days in a calendar year, a 6-day week is customary in your company, and you work 5 days per week, then calculate 24 vacation days / 6 working days (customary in your company) x 5 (actual) working days per week. Your vacation entitlement before parental leave would therefore be 20 vacation days.
As a mother, you calculate your vacation entitlement before parental leave by first determining the period of your maternity leave. To do this, you need the planned or actual date of birth of your child. You can use our Maternity Leave Calculator.
Annual vacation entitlement 24 days.
Date of birth 16.03.2022
Maternity leave start on 03.02.2022
Maternity leave end on 27.05.2022
Parental leave until 03/15/2023:
==> Vacation entitlement in 2022: 5/12 von 24 = 10 days
==> Vacation entitlement in 2023: 10/12 von 24 = 20 days
Vacation entitlement after parental leave
After parental leave, parents are entitled to residual vacation that could not be taken or could only be taken in part due to parental leave. If you had full calendar months without entitlement to pay during parental leave, your employer may reduce your vacation entitlement by 1/12 for each of these months without pay.
If you work part-time during parental leave, you do not have to expect a reduction in vacation after parental leave. Also note any provisions in your employment and collective bargaining agreement that provide for a reduction in vacation if the number of working days per week is reduced. Your employer could also reduce your vacation after parental leave by the number of vacation days that you were granted too much after applying the reduction rule before parental leave. If your employment ends during or at the end of parental leave, you have the right to payment of your remaining leave entitlement.
In theory, you can apply for your remaining vacation or old vacation from other vacation years after parental leave. However, if there are operational concerns, your employer may stipulate that you do not take the full amount of your leave immediately following parental leave.
Such situations may arise if the total amount of remaining vacation, old vacation and vacation from parental leave would result in a long period of absence for the employee and the operational situation would suffer as a result.
Vacation entitlement parental leave law
So that you can find out exactly about vacation entitlement before, during and after parental leave, we have compiled a summary of the legal basis.
According to the Federal Vacation Act, employees have a basic right to paid vacation. In the case of a 6-day week, there is an annual entitlement to 24 days of recreational vacation. In particular, § 5 of the Federal Vacation Act describes in which cases the reduction of the vacation entitlement occurs.
The annual vacation entitlement can be reduced due to parental leave, but only for full calendar months without entitlement to pay, § 17 para, 1 sentence 1 BEEG.
Vacation entitlement during parental leave as a father
If you continue to work part-time as a father during parental leave, you are entitled to your vacation in full. Your employer may reduce your annual vacation by one-twelfth for each calendar month of entitlement to pay. If you use full calendar months for parental leave and are not entitled to pay from your employer during those months, your leave entitlement may be reduced for those months. In addition, pay attention to any regulations in your employment contract that provide for reductions in vacation if you work fewer days per week.
Reductions in vacation entitlement during parental leave
Your employer can therefore reduce the vacation entitlement on the basis of Section 17 (1) Sentence 1 BEEG during parental leave. If parents take parental leave for full calendar months and there is no entitlement to remuneration during this time, a reduction of the vacation entitlement is possible on the basis of the BEEG.
“Reduction can be declared before, during or after parental leave”
Your employer may reduce your vacation before, during or after your parental leave. The reduction is only possible for full months of parental leave during which you are not entitled to remuneration.
“No automatic reduction of vacation entitlement”
The automatic reduction of vacation does not occur. Your employer must clearly declare the intention of a reduction based on full calendar months. If your employer does not declare a reduction in vacation, you will continue to be fully entitled to your vacation.
“Precautionary declaration of reduction of vacation entitlement not possible”
The employer may only declare a reduction in your vacation entitlement if you have requested parental leave (Section 16 (1) sentence 1 BEEG). The declaration of reduction may therefore not be made in a general and precautionary manner for the possibility of a later parental leave.
“No reduction after termination of employment”
The employer cannot declare the reduction of the vacation entitlement after the termination of your employment. Your employer can only enforce the application of the vacation reduction in the active employment contract before, during and after the parental leave.
Leave compensation after parental leave
In principle, parents are entitled to vacation days that accrued before or during parental leave. Your employer must grant you your vacation entitlement in the current or next calendar year after parental leave.
As long as the employment relationship exists, you cannot demand payment of your vacation days. If your employment relationship ends after parental leave, you are entitled to compensation for vacation days not granted. If you have already received more vacation days before parental leave than you are entitled to according to the notified reduction declaration during or after parental leave, your employer may reduce your vacation entitlement by these days.
Expiry of vacation entitlement
In general, vacation entitlements from the current calendar year expire if they are not carried over to the next calendar year and used by March 31. Since many parents are unable to take this vacation in time due to maternity leave and parental leave, these vacation entitlements may still be used after parental leave in the current calendar year or the next calendar year after parental leave. Upon termination of employment, vacation entitlements from the period before and during parental leave do not expire and should be paid out.
Vacation entitlement in the event of renewed parental leave
If you switch to another parental leave directly afterwards or during the current parental leave, then your remaining vacation entitlement will also be transferred to the period after the second parental leave.
Your employer may reduce your vacation leave by 1/12 for each full month of parental leave without pay. The employer may notify this reduction intention before, during and after parental leave. However, the application of the reduction is no longer possible after the termination of the employment relationship.
You can apply for your remaining vacation following parental leave and use it in the current or next vacation year. The transfer of the remaining vacation also occurs in the case of a second parental leave following the first parental leave. Upon termination of employment, your employer must compensate you for the remaining vacation. If you work part-time during parental leave, you are still entitled to vacation. If the number of working days is reduced during parental leave, your employer may reduce the vacation based on regulations in your collective agreement or employment contract.
If you still have old or remaining vacation from full-time employment before parental leave, you are fully entitled to it. Your employer can reduce your vacation entitlement by the number of days that you received too much after applying the reduction clause before parental leave.
Is it better for vacation entitlement to take parental leave from the 15th of a month to the 14th of the following month or from the 1st of the calendar month?
Can my employer reduce vacation time because of parental leave?
What happens to my remaining vacation before parental leave?