Unpaid leave: entitlement, application, duration + insuranceIf the annual leave is not enough, employees can apply for unpaid leave. For example, in order to fulfill a dream trip, to complete further training or to care for relatives. However, employees are entitled to unpaid leave only in a few exceptions. Moreover, they should consider what will happen to their social security during that time. We show how and how long to file a claim for unpaid leave, how leave is calculated, and all the things you need to keep in mind…
Unpaid leave: what do we mean by it??
Unpaid leave is a form of time off. The working relationship remains unchanged. However, employees do not have to come to work and do not receive a salary during that time. In addition, the continued payment of wages in the event of illness is omitted.
Unpaid leave: How long to take?
In contrast to recreational leave, employees are not entitled to unpaid leave. In the Federal Leave Act (BUrlG) is only the legal right to paid minimum leave regulated. This includes at least 24 days a year if you work a 6-day week; if you work a 5-day week, your annual leave entitlement is reduced to at least 20 days.
Who would like to make more vacation in the year than provided for in the employment contract or collective agreement, must apply for unpaid leave. However, the employer must agree to this. Anyone who takes leave without the employer's consent (so-called "self-vacation") risks at least a warning, and in the event of a repetition even termination without notice.
Lawyers distinguish unpaid leave between "short-term disability" (up to 10 days and caregiver leave (up to 6 months).
Unpaid leave: for what?
Employees take unpaid special leave, for example, to extend their parental leave of three years, for a longer educational leave, a sabbatical or to care for a sick family member. So-called "exigent circumstances" (in the case of flooding or a house fire) can also justify a claim for unpaid leave.
Employees who must care for a sick child under 12 years old, For example, you are entitled to up to ten working days of unpaid leave. For single parents it is even 20 days per child per year. The entitlement increases to up to 25 working days per year if you have several children. In this case, single parents are entitled to up to 50 working days of unpaid leave per year.
In the case of a terminal illness, no age requirement applies. Then there may be an unlimited leave entitlement even for older children. This duty of care also applies to your own parents if they are seriously ill and need to be cared for.
Unpaid leave: entitlement and TvoD
An entitlement to unpaid leave may also arise from certain honorary positions (for example, as a juror in court or in a political office). The collective agreement for the public sector (§ 28 TVoD) also contains a clause according to which employees are entitled to special leave "if there is an important reason for doing so, without continued payment of remuneration". Such a reason exists, for example, if employees wish to pursue further education or a doctorate, as well as to care for family members. The employer must then approve the request according to "reasonable discretion.
How is unpaid leave calculated?
Unpaid leave is an additional, private agreement in addition to the employment contract. Therefore, there is no legal regulation for the calculation. However, there is a method that is often used in payroll accounting: To do this, divide your monthly salary by 30 calendar days and multiply the result by the number of planned unpaid leave days. You deduct this sum from your monthly salary.
– You have a monthly salary of 3.000 euros gross. – In August, you would like to take four days of unpaid leave. – August has 31 calendar days. Divide as 3000 : 31 = 96,77. – Because you want to take 4 days off, multiply the number by 4: 96.77 x 4 = 387.09. – Subtract this amount from the full monthly salary: 3000 – 387.09 = 2.612.91 euros. – This is how much less you would receive as salary in August.
Unpaid leave: who pays the health insurance?
Depending on the length of the unpaid leave, the leave has consequences on social insurance. As you do not earn any money during this time, no pension, nursing care, accident and health insurance contributions are paid by the employer either. During the first four weeks of unpaid leave, the statutory insurance coverage applies initially. However, you must deregister from the social security system no later than the last day before the end of the 4-week period. You must then take out voluntary statutory or private health insurance yourself with a health insurance company.
Unpaid leave Pension insurance
Similar advice is recommended for pension insurance. Again, the employer no longer pays contributions to the pension fund. In order not to lose your pension rights, you should provide for yourself. The minimum monthly amount for voluntary pension insurance is 83.70 euros nationwide.
As soon as you resume your original employment, also draw salary again and your employer must register you with social security again.
Unpaid leave: How to apply?
There is no official form for the application for unpaid leave. Can also not. It is an individual agreement between you and your employer. However, you should ALWAYS request unpaid leave in writing. To be approved also in writing. This is the only way to have a tangible proof and evidence in case of dispute with the boss.
The (informal) application should contain the following elements:
– Personal data (first and last name, address, if available: personnel number) – Name, company name and address of the employer – Current date (right-justified) – Subject line ("Request for unpaid leave") – Salutation ("Dear Sir or Madam" or name of superior) – Period of leave and reasons for the request – Decision period (period until approval) – Greeting formula and handwritten signature
Always remain polite with the wording. If the employer does not decide by the set date, set a grace period. If problems still arise, you can also involve the works council.
Free template: Application for unpaid leave
You can edit the following free template right here online in your browser, overwrite it, and then copy and print it out. Just click on the box.
Max Mustermann Musterstrabe 12 34567 Musterstadt Personnel number: MM 01234567
Tolle Produkte GmbH Ulrich Urlaub Fantasiestrasse 54 32100 Musterstadt
Request for unpaid leave from ____ to ____
Dear Mr. Leave,
I hereby apply for unpaid leave for the period from ____ to ____. Unfortunately, my regular annual leave has already been used up for this year. During the requested period, I would like to take care of my father, who is seriously ill and requires home care. I ask for your understanding.
Please inform me in writing by ____ whether you will honor my request for unpaid leave.
_________________________________________ Unterschrift Arbeitnehmer
_________________________________________ Approved by employer (date, signature)
You can download the informal request for unpaid leave here free of charge as a sample letter and Word file.
Unpaid leave ordered by the employer: Does the?
Short answer: No. If the boss orders a company vacation or compulsory leave (e.g. in the event of an economic crisis or seasonal downturn), this is treated as statutory leave. Means: employees receive full vacation pay (not to be confused with vacation pay!). For this the vacation will be deducted from the annual vacation on instruction. However, not indefinitely: According to current case law, a portion of the remaining vacation must remain freely available for employees to plan – around two-fifths or two weeks.
Termination during unpaid leave: Permitted?
In principle, termination is possible during unpaid leave. The regular employment relationship rests only. However, the rights and obligations from the employment contract continue to exist. This includes, for example, the non-competition clause: if you work for the competition while on vacation (even if it is unpaid), you can be summarily dismissed. It is also inadmissible to publicly and discreditingly talk about the employer during vacation – for example in social media. Employees only have vacation – they are not completely free.