In what instances is a leave of absence possible?

Employees frequently ask the staff council under what circumstances temporary paid leave is possible. The following text is a translation (for informational purposes and not legally binding) of excerpts of the collective agreement for the public sector of the federal states (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst der Länder, TV-L) and the nursing care leave act (Pflegezeitgesetz, PflegeZG), which regulate special occasions for a leave of absence.

1. Leave of absence according to the collective agreement (TV-L)

§29, TV-L:

“(1) Only the circumstances listed below are deemed to be cases under § 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB), where employees are granted a paid leave of absence for the specified length of time:

a) a wife’s/life partner’s (according to the law on civil partnerships, Lebenspartnerschaftsgesetz) childbirth: one workday,

b) death of the spouse, the life partner (according to the law on civil partnerships), a child or parent: two workdays,

c) moving house for work or business reasons: one workday,

d) 25- and 40-year work anniversary: one workday,

e) serious illness of
aa) a relative living in the same household: one workday per calendar year,

bb) of a child under the age of 12, if there is or has not been a claim according to § 45 SGB V (child sick pay) in the current calendar year: up to four workdays per calendar year,

cc) of a caregiver, if this means that employees have to take over the care of their child under the age of 8 or who requires permanent care due to a physical, mental or emotional disability: up to four workdays per calendar year.

A leave of absence pursuant to letter e) is only granted when another person is not immediately available for nursing or care and a doctor certifies the necessity of the employee's presence for provisional care in the cases of aa and bb above. The leave of absence may not exceed a total of five workdays per calendar year.

f) Medical treatment of employees, if this must take place during working hours: the documented necessary time of absence, including the necessary travel time.

(2) If employees perform general civic duties under German law, they are entitled to continued remuneration, if the time off work is prescribed by law and to the extent that the duties cannot be performed outside working hours, even after they are rescheduled, as appropriate; to the extent that employees are entitled to claim compensation for remuneration, they are not entitled to continued remuneration.

The continued remuneration is deemed to be an advance on the benefits paid by the funding bodies in the amount of the entitlement to compensation. Employees are obliged to claim compensation and to pay the amount received to their employer.

(3) In other urgent cases, the employer may grant a paid leave of absence of up to three working days. In cases with good reason, a short leave of absence without pay may be granted if business or organizational circumstances permit it.

Protocol explanation to § 29 Paragraph 3 Sentence 2:
Cases with good reason may also include occasions not eligible for a paid leave of absence (such as moving house for personal reasons).

(4) The elected representatives of the Bezirksvorstände, the Landesbezirksvorstände, the Landesfachbereichsvorstände, the Bundesfachbereichsvorstände, the Bundesfachgruppenvorstände as well as the trade union council (Gewerkschaftsrat) or corresponding bodies of other contracting trade unions may, upon request, be granted paid leaves of absence of up to eight workdays per year to attend meetings/conferences; urgent business or organizational interests may not conflict with the leave of absence. In order to participate in collective bargaining with the TdL or its members, a paid leave of absence without a time limit may be granted upon request by one of the contracting trade unions.

(5) A paid leave of absence to participate in meetings of examination and vocational training committees in accordance with the vocational training act (Berufsbildungsgesetz) or for work in social insurance agency institutions may be granted, provided that no urgent business or organizational interests are in conflict.

(6) In the cases of paragraphs 1 to 5, the salary according to the pay scale and the other salary components, which are specified in monthly amounts, is paid.”

In the case of a serious illness according to paragraph 1, letter e), be sure to contact the attending physician to obtain a medical certificate. It is important not to sacrifice vacation days for this, because you need these to rest and recuperate, especially when caring for family members. If you have any questions, please contact the staff council.

2. Leave of absence according to the nursing care leave act (PflegeZG)

In 2008, the reform of the statutory long-term care insurance came into force. While the monthly contributions for long-term care insurance increased by 0.25%, employees now have the option of taking time off to care for close relatives:

§ 2 of the PflegeZG allows employees a leave of absence of up to 10 working days in order to organize care for close relatives in the event of an urgent care situation.

§ 3 and 4 of the PflegeZG enable employees to take a leave of absence without pay for a period of up to 6 months. The person in need of care must have at least care level (Pflegestufe) 1.

§ 5 of the PflegeZG regulates the protection against unfair dismissal for the leaves of absence specified above (which is similar to the protection against unfair dismissal in the maternity protection act, Mutterschutzgesetz).

Updated: 01/2021