Scramble for days off: is there a right to bridging days?

Precisely because this year bridging days look meager, these few are particularly sought after.

Scramble for days off: is there a right to bridging days?

Precisely because this year bridging days look meager, these few are particularly sought after. Which can lead to conflicts within the workforce. Read here who has priority in use. Spoilers: first come, first served does not apply.

Every employee knows: If you combine national public holidays with your own vacation days, you can take a lot more time off. In principle, the same principles apply to bridging days as to other vacation days. This also includes taking care of the holiday planning in good time. This sometimes leads to conflicts with the employer and/or colleagues.

It applies to all of them that the employer must take the wishes of his employees into account when planning vacation and may not tell his employees when they have to take vacation. However, he can - also with the works council - negotiate or define general principles for the granting of holidays such as company holidays or holiday plans. In addition, the employer can also refuse vacation for operational reasons, for example if all employees want to have the same days off or there are staff shortages due to illness. In this case, colleagues with children have an advantage because they are considered to be in need of social protection and can therefore be given preferential treatment. First come, first served, so does not apply when applying for bridging days.

However, the employer must weigh the interests of the employees against each other. Accordingly, every employee should be able to enjoy a bridging day at least once. For example, the vacation of the spouse or the length of service can also play a role in the allocation of vacation days. It is taboo, however, to make the decision dependent on personal sympathies. But still: The employer may only cancel vacation that has already been approved in exceptional cases, such as a staff shortage due to illness.

Conversely, he can only order bridge days in exceptional cases - if there are urgent operational reasons. This could be the case, for example, if the employer wants to use a bridging day himself, but the work is not possible without him. It goes without saying that early communication with the workforce is also required here.

After that has been clarified, here is an overview of which bridge days are still available where in Germany:

26. May

Ascension Day (May 26) always falls on a Thursday. If you invest four days around the date, you can stay away from work for nine days. Period: May 21 (Saturday) to May 29 (Sunday).

June the 6th

Anyone who spends four days on Pentecost (Monday, June 6th) cannot appear at work for a whole nine days. Period: June 4th (Saturday) to June 12th (Sunday).

16. June

Anyone who works in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate or Saarland can also use Corpus Christi. The holiday falls on June 16 (Thursday). If you take 8 days of vacation here, you have a total of 16 days off. Period: June 4th (Saturday) to June 19th (Sunday).

15. August

Again, the Bavarians can cheer - at least the parts with a predominantly Catholic population. And the Saarlanders. Here, Assumption Day on Monday, August 15, is a public holiday. Anyone who sacrifices four vacation days can relax for nine days. Period: August 13 (Saturday) to August 21 (Sunday).

20. September

On this date you can sleep in in Thuringia. Thanks to World Children's Day, which the federal state has had exclusively as a public holiday since 2019. If you take a day off, you can relax for four days at a time. Period: September 17 (Saturday) to September 20 (Tuesday).

October 3

The Day of German Unity falls on a Monday. If you use four vacation days, you can stay at home for nine days. Period: October 1st (Saturday) to October 9th (Sunday).

October 31st

In Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia, Reformation Day on Monday 31 October is a public holiday. If you use four vacation days around the date, you will have nine days off. Period: October 29 (Saturday) to November 6 (Sunday).

1. November

Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland are allowed to celebrate All Saints' Day on Tuesday, November 1st. Anyone who takes four days of vacation here from October 29 (Saturday) to November 6 (Sunday) can look forward to nine days of free time.

16. November

Cheers in Saxony. Only here is Wednesday, November 16th, a day of repentance and prayer. Those who use two vacation days have five days off from November 16 (Wednesday) to November 20 (Sunday).

25./26. December

If you give yourself four vacation days around Christmas, you can blow through a total of nine days at the end of the year. Period: December 24 (Saturday) to January 1 (Sunday).

Even if Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve 2022 unfortunately fall on a Saturday, they are not public holidays anyway. Which is at least interesting for those who have to get here. However, many collective bargaining agreements or company agreements provide for at least half a day off work.

(This article was first published on Sunday, May 15, 2022.)


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