Labor law question: Does the boss have to take care of vacation cover?

Before it's time to relax, work overtime - or leave the team with a lot of work: the topic of holiday replacement is not optimally regulated in all companies.

Labor law question: Does the boss have to take care of vacation cover?

Before it's time to relax, work overtime - or leave the team with a lot of work: the topic of holiday replacement is not optimally regulated in all companies. What is legal.

In the summer months, many working people plan longer vacations. Employees are regularly worried about who will take over their tasks in their absence. Does the employer have to take care of holiday cover?

The simple answer is: no. "Theoretically, the employer can also say that I don't care what happens during the vacation absence," says Peter Meyer, a specialist lawyer for labor law in Berlin. He also has the opportunity to say: Coordinate in the team who will take on tasks during the vacation.

In the latter case, the workload for the representing colleagues is often high. If employees are overwhelmed, they should inform the manager that they now have to set priorities due to the additional tasks and agree on what should be done first.

"In the worst case, for example if I can no longer look after all patients in the medical field, you have to report overload," says Meyer. According to the motto: Under the given circumstances, there is a risk that the quality of the work is not what it should be.

What doesn't work: "The employer can't demand that you work before or after the working hours that are lost due to vacation," says the specialist lawyer. This contradicts the recreational purpose of the holiday.

However, the employer can instruct employees to prepare their vacation as part of their regular working hours in such a way that there is as little effort as possible for colleagues during the vacation period.

About the person: Peter Meyer is a specialist lawyer for labor law and a member of the executive committee of the labor law working group in the German Bar Association (DAV).

(This article was first published on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.)


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