Language holidays as Bildungsurlaub


What is Bildungsurlaub?
Bildungsurlaub is the legally recognized claim of employees on exemption from work for the purpose of political or professional training. During this period, the employer is regularly reimbursed by the employer. The content areas of Bildungsurlaub are not specifically prescribed as long as they serve in any way a benefit for the current workplace. Particularly popular and often chosen as Bildungsurlaub are language trips, where one improves his foreign language skills abroad. The use of Bildungsurlaub represents a win / win situation for employers and employees, as both benefit from the increase in know-how: the employer is made aware of the newly acquired knowledge that is available to the company, to be technically up-to-date even with an increasing age.


Who can apply for an Bildungsurlaub?
In 14 out of 16 federal states (except for Saxony and Bavaria), employees are entitled to a right to Bildungsurlaub, although this is not legally securitized in Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg. In most cases condition is a minimum size of the operation and a minimum duration of the employment relationship. In Baden-Württemberg, for example, employees must be working for the company for at least twelve months, while in North Rhine-Westphalia its only six months. In most of the federal states trainees are also able to take an Bildungsurlaub, but here the regulations differ: often the education leave is limited to political education.


How do I make an application with my employer?
The Bildungsurlaub is submitted by the employee to the employer. He also has the final right to decide whether the applicant is exempted from the work or not. The application must be handed in in written form and all documents must be enclosed showing that the selected course is recognized as an Bildungsurlaub in the respective federal state. In most federal states, the application must be submitted at least six weeks before the course starts.


How many days of Bildungsurlaub can I take?
In general, workers have five days of leave per year. In Saarland, it´s six days, with the special rule that the employee is paid for a maximum of three days. In many federal states, it is possible to take a ten-day Bildungsurlaub every two years.


What are the demands on Bildungsurlaub?
The law lays down special requirements for language courses in order to be recognized as Bildungsurlaub. This is about criteria such as number of lessons. In most cases, a total of 30 weeks of 45 minutes is required. Apart from this, individual requirements for recognition have to be fulfilled in each federal state. North Rhine-Westphalia writes e.g. that courses may be held at a maximum distance of 500 kilometers from the state border. In general, language travel is recognized as Bildungsurlaub. If the course is really recognized, please contact the organizer. If you make a language course of several weeks, you can also declare only part of it as Bildungsurlaub.


Who bears the costs?
During Bildungsurlaub, the employer pays the salary of the worker as usual.
The employee shall bear the costs of the course, expenditure on teaching materials, travel and accommodation costs.


What if the application for Bildungsurlaub is rejected?
In principle, employees have a legal right to education leave. However, there are some exceptional cases where the employer can reject the application. Normally, this is a matter of urgent operational requirements or when there are personnel shortages. If too many colleagues have vacation in the desired period, the boss may refuse the Bildungsurlaub, but must grant it at another time. In this case, employees may also require the claim to be transferred to the next year. General operational or economic reasons are not sufficient to reject an application.

The question if a language course is officially recognized as Bildungsurlaub is of particular interest not only for employees, but also for the corresponding language school, since certification entails high potential for additional customers.

In principle, language travel can be recognized as Bildungsurlaub. It is best to inform yourself as an employee about the appropriate time for your Bildungsurlaub. If you would like to book a language course with us for your Bildungsurlaub, you should register at least two to three months before your desired travel date in order to be able to have enough time to plan the rest of your activities.

In addition to the supply of information on the requirements and registration for Bildungsurlaub, our special focus is on the provision of active assistance for foreign language schools in their application for Bildungsurlaub certification at the relevant offices in Germany.