Bildungsurlaub – Paid Educational leave in Germany

You might already be aware of the 20 to 29 paid leave days you get if you are working full time in Germany. On top of that there are between 8 to 9 Government holidays depending on your state or city you live in. Then there is paid sick leave in Germany but did you know you get get a Bildungsurlaub – Paid Educational leave Germany you did not know about.

bildungsurlaub- paid educational leave in Germany
Is Bildungsurlaub actually Paid educational leave in Germany?

What is Bildungsurlaub?

Most federal states offer employees the opportunity to be released from their job for a brief time to take part in training programs. This is know as Bildungsurlaub, Bildungsfreistellung or Educational Leave.

In other words your employer releases you from work for a further training event and continues to pay your salary. As an Employee you can apply for this trailing if you are done with the probation period in your company. But many employers also allow this during the probation period as well.

How many Vacation Days are there in a Bildungsurlaub?

The number of Vacation days you can get in a Bildungsurlaub or Educational Leave depend on you Federal State. In most states, you can take five days a year if you work five days a week.

Federal State Duration
Baden-Württemberg 5 days per year
Bayern No Educational Leave
Berlin 10 days in two years
Brandenburg 10 days in two years
Bremen 10 days in two years
Hamburg 10 days in two years
Hessen 5 days per year
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 5 days per year
Niedersachsen 5 days per year
Nordrhein-Westfalen 10 days in two years
Rheinland-Pfalz 10 days in two years
Saarland 6 days per year (from the 3rd day half own contribution)
Sachsen No Educational Leave
Sachsen-Anhalt 10 days in two years
Schleswig-Holstein 10 days in two years
Thüringen 5 days per year
Bildungsurlaub days / Educational leave in the German Federal States

You can find a list of all the Legal Regulation in an article from DGB.

In Many federal states the vacation days for two years can be combined. Meaning that you can take up to ten days of educational leave per year. 

That said unfortunately for the states of Bavaria and Saxony, there is no option of an Educational Leave.

Bildungsurlaub – Paid Educational leave in Germany

Can you transfer the paid Educational Leave days of Bildungsurlaub?

Due to any reason, if you are unable to take an educational leave in a particular year. You can transfer the days of the paid Education Leave to the next year. This is possible in many Federal States in Germany take those days to the next year in many states.

In the Federal States of Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Nordrhein-Westfallen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Sachsen-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein you can have transfer the Education leave days of Bildungsurlaub from one year to the other.

You dont have to transfer all five days to the next year, you can even move the unused days. For example this year you only take 2 days for your Educational leave, you can transfer the 3 days to the next year so that you can have 8 days in the next year. An important thing to remember here is that you can only move the days once, so you cannot have this leave accumulate over several years.

You simply need to write to your employer before the end of the year to carry forward you education leave days to the next year.

In the Federal States of Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein you do not have the option to move the holidays to the next year. So if you in one of these Federal States, you need to make sure that you use your Bildungsurlaub. Otherwise you will lose this advantage.

Conditions to getting Paid Education leave days of Bildungsurlaub

As the name suggests this is an Educational Leave, so the training must only serve a professional or a political purpose. So you cant travel to France to take a Cooking course if you work as an IT professional. This would not contribute professionally or politically. But this course doesnt always have to be directly related to your profession. For example a stress relief course could be acceptable if this can stop you from a Burn out.

Yoga class in Bildungsurlaub to prevent Burnout
Yoga class in Bildungsurlaub to prevent Burnout

Most states have their own databases and recognized lists of events. These may include language courses, stress relief seminars, video editing etc.

Federal State Duration
Baden-Württemberg Further training database Baden-Württemberg
Bayern No Educational Leave
Berlin Search portal for further education in Berlin and Brandenburg
Brandenburg Recognized further education events
Bremen Portal Bremen (training time offers)
Hamburg Course offers on the Hamburg educational leave server
Hessen Course offers on the Hessen educational leave server
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern The further education database for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Niedersachsen Courses
Nordrhein-Westfalen Course offers on the North Rhine-Westphalia educational leave server
Rheinland-Pfalz Courses offered by the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Education
Saarland Continuing Education Database Saar
Sachsen No Educational Leave
Sachsen-Anhalt List of recognized organizers of educational leave 
Schleswig-Holstein Recognized events Educational exemption
Thüringen Recognized events
Recognized Education Events for Bildungsurlaub in German Federal States

How do you apply for the Bildungsurlaub?

To get the education leave you have to submit an application first. The deadlines to hand over the application for the educational leave vary according to state. For example in Baden-Württemberg it is nine weeks before the start of the course. And For many others its 6 weeks.

Applications for Bildungsurlaub (educational leave) must be submitted to the employer in writing or electronically. There is no specific application format needed to submit your application. But here is an application template from bildungsurlaub-aktuell that could be helpful to get you started.

The employer generally decides immediately, but no later than four weeks after receipt of the application. If the employer does not decide on the application for training time within this period, it may be considered as approved.

Can the employer refuse the paid educational leave and reject the Bildungsurlaub?

Not every company would be happy to see you submit a Bildungsurlaub. It can even happen that the Human Resource department might not even be aware of such a leave. But that is not a valid reason for refusal.

Employers can also reject the application in certain cases, for example:

  1. Urgent Operational Reasons
  2. Due to vacation and/or illness of other colleagues leads to operational impairments
  3. 10 percent of the employees of a company have already applied for Bildungsurlaub
  4. Fewer than 10 employees are employed in the company

Your application can also be rejected by your Employer if they think that your course doesnt not fulfill a professional or political purpose.

You can always object to the company’s decision but I wouldnt recommend doing that. I suggest:

Search for a valid course and go to the HR first to discuss this before formally submitting an application

If the application is accepted, The employer must release you during the educational leave and continue to pay the salary.

Bildungsurlaub application may be rejected
Bildungsurlaub application may be rejected

Would the company also bear the costs of the course or seminar?

The employer does not have to pay the costs for the course itself. However, some companies pay the course fees or pay a subsidy as this is part of their company policy. For example many companies pay for German language course fees for their Expat employees. Even if your company doesnt bear the costs, if the course is related to your job you can claim it in your tax return, you can read my article on how to claim €600 Euros sent to parents or watch my video on how to submit a tax return in Germany.

It is definitely worth it to apply for Bildungsurlaub and get the paid educational leave from your Employer as it will help you concentrate on learning something new or reinforce a skill that you already have. And if there is a facility provided by the Government it should be availed. Dont forget to share this article with your friends and colleagues so that they can also get 5 days paid Educational Leave too!

*None of this is meant to be considered as investment advice, as I am not a financial expert and am only sharing my experience with stock investing. The information is based on my own research. The video and articles are accurate as of the posting date but may not be accurate in the future .

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