Vacation compensation: a legal rightYour job with your current employer is ending, but you still have vacation days left over? Don't worry: The vacation days have to be paid out.
Every employee – including trainees – has a statutory right to paid vacation in every calendar year. This entitlement cannot be circumvented by agreements in the employment contract. According to the Federal Vacation Act (BUrlG), there must be at least 24 working days in a six-day week. That is then four weeks of vacation (24:6). Of course, your boss can grant you more vacation days – but not less.
If you have a five-day week, you can calculate your minimum vacation entitlement this way:
24 days : 6 days = 4 weeks of vacation
4 weeks x 5 days = 20 vacation days
If you work less than five days per week, simply enter the corresponding number of days in the second calculation step.
By the way:
According to the Federal Leave Act, the employer must take into account when the employee wants to take leave. If, however, urgent operational concerns or vacation wishes of other employees who have school-age children, for example, speak against an employee's wish for more time, the employee cannot insist on it.
If the remaining leave is paid off
But what happens if your employment ends, but you still have residual leave? As a general rule, vacation must be taken "in nature". This means that you are released from work, can take a vacation and continue to receive your salary. Payment of vacation days is normally not permitted.
However, if your employment relationship ends and you were unable to take your remaining vacation days, then you are entitled to the so-called
Vacation compensation to. This is also regulated in the Federal Vacation Act: "If vacation can no longer be granted in whole or in part due to termination of the employment relationship, it must be compensated," it says.
Important: It doesn't matter for what reason your employment ends. Whether you have been given notice, you have given notice yourself, a fixed-term employment contract is expiring or you are retiring: If you still have vacation days left that you could not use up, the employer must pay them to you.
By the way:
Even if an employment relationship ends because the employee dies, the entitlement to vacation compensation does not expire. Then his heirs have a right to payment. This was decided by the Federal Labor Court in 2019 (File number: 9 AZR 45/16).
Calculation of vacation compensation
If the vacation is compensated financially, the vacation days must be converted into money. Since a day of vacation is equal to a day of work, you need to know how much a day of work is worth.
1. Example: Full-time position
– Anna works full-time, has a five-day week and earns 3.250 Euro gross per month. – First, the weekly salary must be calculated. In addition, the quarterly salary is calculated in the first step, i.e. the salary for three months:
3.250 Euro x 3 months = 9.750 euros
– Since a quarter, i.e. a calendar quarter, has 13 weeks, the quarterly salary is then divided by 13 to arrive at the weekly salary:
9.750 euros : 13 weeks = 750 euros
– Anna's weekly salary is thus 750 euros gross. To calculate the wage for a day, it is divided by the number of working days per week:
750 euros : 5 days = 150 euros
– So one day of Anna's work is worth 150 euros gross. – Now her employment ends, and she still has eleven vacation days that she could not take:
Thus, Anna is entitled to a vacation compensation in the amount of 1.650 Euro.
2. Example: Part-time job
– Jonas works part-time, has a three-day week and earns 1.950 euros gross per month. At the end of his employment relationship, he also had eleven days of remaining vacation that he could not use up. – Then the calculation looks like this:
1.950 euros x 3 months = 5.850 euros
5.850 Euro : 13 weeks = 450 Euro
450 Euro : 3 days = 150 Euro
150 Euro x 11 days = 1.650 euros
So Jonas also gets 1.650 euros as vacation compensation.
By the way:
If you receive monthly sales commissions in addition to your fixed salary, these may not be disregarded when calculating vacation compensation.
Vacation compensation is fully taxed
And what does it mean for you as a taxpayer, if you have received a vacation payout? Clear answer: vacation compensation is income subject to social insurance contributions. Falls under the category "Other remuneration. Therefore, both wage tax and, if applicable, church tax and solidarity surcharge, as well as employee contributions to health, pension and long-term care insurance are deducted from it. In approximately the same amount, the employer must also pay social security contributions.
Entitlement to vacation compensation may expire
Since employees have a statutory right to any vacation pay that may become due, employers cannot, as already mentioned, exclude this contractually, for example in the employment contract. However, so-called preclusion periods also apply to the claim for vacation compensation. And such are included in most contracts.
For example, it may be agreed in the master collective bargaining agreement or employment contract that all mutual claims will be forfeited if they are not asserted within three months of the due date at the latest. If you have residual leave after the end of your employment relationship and your employee does not automatically pay it out, you must assert your claim to it in good time, in writing or even by legal action.
By the way:
It is not uncommon for unused annual leave to be carried over to the next calendar year. However, there is no statutory right to such a provision: "Carrying over vacation to the next calendar year is only permissible if justified by urgent operational reasons or reasons relating to the person of the employee," the Federal Vacation Act states. In the worst case, the vacation is then forfeited, as payment is not provided for by law.