Can an employer refuse vacation time
The 12 most important holiday regulations
Summer, sun, vacation - finally a few days off or more. All employees look forward to it. But what to do if everyone wants to take time off at the same time or the company imposes a "vacation ban"?
For a relaxing holiday, it is not only important to plan well in advance, but also to know what you are entitled to as an employee. In everyday life, however, it is noticeable again and again that many employees do not know the legal regulations from labor law relating to the topic of vacation or assume wrong conditions.
What you should pay attention to when planning your vacation, explains Dr. Felix Stoecker, Senior Legal Manager Central Europe, at the personnel service company Robert Half. It answers the twelve most important questions about vacation and labor law:
1. How many days of vacation can I take according to labor law?
The legislator has clearly regulated the number of vacation days in the Federal Vacation Act. Yet the claim is often misinterpreted. It is correct: The labor law allows the employee at least 24 days of vacation, but assumes a six-day week.
Since most employees work five days or less, the vacation entitlement is proportionally lower: For a five-day week, the statutory minimum vacation is 20 days, which is available for vacation planning. Deviations upwards are possible through an employment contract, works agreement or collective bargaining agreement.
Dr. Felix Stoecker also emphasizes, however, that most companies are entitled to more than just the statutory minimum vacation leave for their employees. This depends on the employment contract, a works agreement or a collective agreement.
2. Am I entitled to three weeks' vacation?
Labor law grants employees the right to vacation on twelve consecutive working days (based on the six-day week). The prerequisite for this is that you have at least this length of vacation entitlement. Applied to the five-day week that is now common, this means that you are generally entitled to ten days of vacation at a time, i.e. a two-week vacation.
3. Can I take vacation during the trial period?
It is a common myth that workers are not allowed to take vacation during their probationary period. It is correct that the full vacation entitlement arises only after six months in the company. However, you are already entitled to proportional vacation - i.e. 1/12 of the annual vacation per month that you have already worked. If you have a 24-day entitlement, this is two days per month.
Whether you should actually apply for leave during the probationary period depends on the respective situation. Many bosses expect new employees to concentrate fully on their new job in the first few months. So decide on a case-by-case basis.
- 10 IT tips for a carefree vacation
Finally vacation - but if IT admins want to take the summer break, then they have to work ahead. Otherwise the cell phone rings on the beach. With a few tricks, the network is stable even when you're not there.
- 1. Archive old data
Old, unnecessary data is blocking the network. They hold up employees, impair productivity and are a safety risk.
- 2. Keep an eye on the bandwidth
When cleaning up the network, it should be checked whether more storage space is required. The bandwidth requirements can change over time. While the company had adequate bandwidth two years ago, this may no longer be the case. Now is the right time to plan capacities to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible during the absence.
- 3. Increase security
Many colleagues are now going on vacation. Fewer manpower can mean a lower level of security, as employees pass on login names and passwords as part of the handover. It should now be reminded again of best security procedures. The classics: passwords, multifactor authentication, central user administration and single sign-on. Access controls should be reviewed. Restricting access to critical data is important to minimize damage from a security breach.
- 4. Apply critical updates and patches prior to departure
This will have a positive effect on both your own vacation and the general safety plan. Over half of all security breaches occur because known security vulnerabilities have not been addressed.
- 5. Archive emails
Hardly anything promotes the end of vacation blues better than a full inbox on your return. For this reason, old e-mails should be archived before departure and large files that are no longer needed should be thrown away. Even better: set up automatic, rule-based deletion.
- 6. Remove old devices from the network
Equipment that is no longer in use, including faxes, copiers, and telephones, can place a heavy load on the network and pose a security risk.
- 7. Create order on the servers
Servers can become cluttered, cumbersome, and completely disorganized over time, resulting in unnecessary requests to find specific files or programs. Allow time for a systematic cleanup of the servers and content before the vacation.
- 8. Delete unnecessary WLAN connections
How many WLAN signals does your company support? How many connection points are there and where do they go? WLAN connections that are no longer used or required should be disconnected. Simplifying the infrastructure increases security and makes it easier to organize yourself or to hand over tasks to someone else for two weeks.
- 9. Take care of the network drives
Another candidate from the "annoying IT calls" category: network drives that cannot connect. It should be ensured that these are correctly assigned so that they connect automatically after the restart.
- 10. Filter the network traffic
A good way to prevent junk from clogging your network is to filter it out before it even gets there. There are several tools that keep unwanted email and data off the network.
4. I'm definitely going on vacation - with or without an okay from the boss!
Attention! An employer needs good reasons to put a stop to your vacation planning. But even if he does this unjustifiably, you as an employee are not allowed to go on vacation anyway. You risk a warning or, in the worst case, a termination without notice.
5. My boss is not allowed to take back my vacation that has already been approved, right?
A vacation that has already been approved can be revoked if the boss and employee agree on it. The boss is only allowed to take the vacation back on his own in absolute exceptional cases, for example if unexpectedly so many employees are absent that production or the timely annual financial statements are endangered.
This also applies if the employee has already started his vacation. In this case, however, the employer has to pay for the costs incurred (cancellation, return trip).
6. Can my boss refuse the vacation request?
It is not only the location of the public holidays that is of interest when planning your vacation in 2019, the situation in your company naturally also plays an important role. Especially when there is a kind of "vacation lock" at certain times (for example because of the Christmas business), the options are reduced and it happens that colleagues from the same department are planning vacation at the same time.
In such situations, the boss cannot fulfill all of his employees' vacation needs. With reference to operational reasons, the employer may refuse the vacation request for a certain period of time according to the labor law.
7. My colleague has a family. Is he entitled to vacation during the school holidays?
No. Whether an employee has school-age children or not is irrelevant to the legislature. Nevertheless, if the company situation allows, employers may prefer parents' vacation wishes during the school holidays, since they can only go on vacation together with their children during these times. Working parents are not entitled to this, however.
Other considerations can also play a role here:
Length of service,
Age and number of school-age children
Vacation of other family members or
the vacation regulations in previous years.
8. It's Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, isn't it?
Contrary to popular belief, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are not public holidays. If you would like to have free days on these days, you must apply for a day or two days of leave.
In many companies, however, they only work until noon on these days. A kind of customary law for employees can be derived from this. If this happens three years in a row without reservation by the employer, this results in an "operational exercise" and the employee may also be entitled to only work half a day in the following years. A kind of contract is created based on a tacit assumption.
9. How many vacation days can I save for the next year according to labor law?
Despite good vacation planning, it can happen that you don't use up your vacation within the year. Does the remaining vacation expire? Not necessarily. You can take the remaining vacation days with you into the new year under certain conditions - if there are personal or operational reasons for not being able to use your full annual vacation in the previous year.
In any case, you must inform your employer that you do not want to use up the remaining vacation days until the coming year. Otherwise your entitlement may be forfeited.
Some companies allow their employees to take a few days of leave with them into the new year. Whether this also applies to you and by when you must take the remaining leave at the latest can be found in the employment contract or in the HR department.
If you are allowed to take remaining leave with you until the end of March of the following year, the entitlement does not expire if the employee is sick for the first three months of the new year. In this case, he can also take the remaining leave later. He should do so soon, however.
Another exception rule for vacation applies to employees who have not been with the company for six months as of December 31 and were unable to take vacation due to the probationary period. Then these employees are allowed to use up the remaining vacation days up to the end of the following year.
10. I don't want to go on vacation this year and prefer to have the money. The employer has to pay me the vacation days, right?
Unfortunately this is not possible. There is only one possibility of having vacation days paid out by the employer: If it is no longer possible to take the remaining vacation due to the termination of the employment relationship.
11. Can my boss order me back to the company from my vacation?
He is allowed to do this in emergencies, for example if the existence of the company would otherwise be jeopardized. However, this is likely to happen very rarely in practice. But then he has to pay for the resulting costs.
12. I got sick while on vacation, what now?
If you have informed your employer immediately, went to the doctor and received a medical certificate, you will not lose any vacation days. However, you will need a medical certificate from the first day of your illness on vacation if you want to keep your vacation days.
This article is based on oneAdviser to the personnel services company Robert Half.
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