Language holidays as Bildungsurlaub

dot 5 days of educational leave per year for professional training for employees

dotCertification approved quality feature in Germany

dot Accreditation adds extra value to language schools and accesses new target group


What is Bildungsurlaub?

Bildungsurlaub, shortly known as BU, is the legally recognized claim of employees on exemption from work for advanced training. During this period, the employee is regularly reimbursed by the employer. The content areas of BU are not specifically prescribed as long as they serve a benefit for the current workplace. Particularly popular and often chosen as Bildungsurlaub are language trips, where one can improve his foreign language skills abroad. The use of BU represents a win/win situation for employers and employees. Both benefit from the increase of expertise: the employer is made aware of the newly acquired knowledge, which is available to the company, the employee achieves 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 Sachsen and Bayern) employees are entitled to a right to Bildungsurlaub. Most federal states require a minimum size of the company and a minimum duration of the employment relationship. In Baden-Württemberg employees must be working for the company for at least twelve months, while in Nordrhein-Westfalen it is only six months. In most of the federal states trainees are also able to take Bildungsurlaub, but the regulations for them is way different.


How do I make an application with my employer?

The Bildungsurlaub has to be submitted to the employer by the employee. The employer 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 should be enclosed showing that the selected course is recognized as BU in the respective federal state. In most federal states, the application should be submitted twelve weeks before the course starts.


How many days of Bildungsurlaub can I take?

BU allows employees to get five extra days of paid vacation per year. In many federal states it is possible to take ten days BU every two years. Saarland is an exceptional case where employees get six days per year.


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 the number of lessons. Mostly, a total of 30 lessons of 45 minutes is required to get recognized. Apart from this, individual requirements for recognition have to be fulfilled in each federal state.


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.

Information as of October 2017