By the time I really understood what a GREAT thing educational leave was, I had been on the job for over 13 years. I could weep when I think of all the seminars I could have gone to…😪
This is what you need to know to schedule some (working) time for your next Bildungsurlaub:
What is “Bildungsurlaub” or Educational leave?
Educational leave or “Bildungsurlaub” is a regulation that benefits employees. This Educational Leave provides you with the right as an employee to up to 5 days of continuing education during working hours – every year anew.
Are you interested in learning further German, learning to make videos… or attending conflict and communication training in German? All this is possible. Unbelievable? Ja !!
Let me explain here the essential context, and then I’ll give you some hints for seminars (and please don’t wait 10 years like me to make use of it).
Educational leave (“Bildungssurlaub”) is a professional and political training measure that may be granted to an employee in addition to his/her entitlement to recreational leave.
Educational leave is regulated by law, and thus a right for employees.
However, the German term “Urlaub” is misleading, because it is not a vacation or chill. That is why educational leave is actually the correct term in English.
Specifically, an employee has the right to attend a seminar of his or her choice every two years.
Paid time off for educational leave can normally be taken to the extent of about five days per year.
Regardig the topics: Only job-related and political training courses are recognized. Most federal states of Germany have a legal entitlement to educational leave (to a limited extent).
The employee has to pay for the training for him- or herself, but – and this is the great part – the leave officially counts as working time. Thus the employer continues to pay the employee’s salary as usual.
How popular is educational leave?
have been told that there was a heyday for educational leave in Germany in the 1980s. At that time, the focus was on political issues, and the trade unions were particularly active.
From a purely statistical point of view, very few Germans take advantage of educational leave today: I found a figure that says that only about 1-2% of all employees take it.
I think the reason is that today many employees don’t even know about it. This is because the courses are usually very cheap, as they are usually publicly subsidized.
Who pays for it?
The following applies to educational leave: the employer pays the salary.
The course fees are paid by the employee.
However, there are funding opportunities that employees can use to reduce their course fees. Please ask the course provider if there is a grant available before you register (e.g. Bildungsscheck etc.)
How do I find courses of Bildungsurlaub /vocational leave?
You find many offers and topics on my favourite research source:
In addition, you google “Bildungsurlaub”, “Deutsche Sprache” or “Sprachkurs” and you’ll find many courses varying from A2 – to C2. Which one do you choose? 👀
Who has a right to educational leave?
Educational leave is available in most German states (except Bavaria and Saxony). All employees and trainees in the private and public sectors are entitled to educational leave.
If you work part-time, the entitlement to educational leave changes accordingly.
There’s one prerequisite: You have to be in a job at your employer for at least six months. Plus, your course needs to be recognized as Bildungsurlaub / vocational leave in your Bundesland.
My advice is that you check the courses available and request further information from the school. If you have a “Betriebsrat” or “Gewerkschaftsvertreter” at your employer, you can turn to them for further information.
However, it might be your supervisor doesn’t fancy you going to Breslau, an old and beautiful city in Poland on a Bildungsurlaub. Might be, that she or he tells you that’s not possible or welcome. Personally, I’ve gone through that with my former supervisor. It’s a political topic, and I’ve you’re determined to make use of it, then they can’t forbid it. A few years ago, in a legal proceedings the judge stated that e.g. a yoga course might be taken as Bildungsurlaub, if it’s a well-designed course and if it promotes better management of stress in the workplace in the broadest sense.
The reason why I’m promoting the idea of Bildungsurlaub 😍
Continuing education is becoming increasingly important for all of us. Of course, I learn a lot myself through online platforms, but a certificate and learning on the spot in a group of like-minded people simply is awesome. Yep, I admit that I’m an education junkie. And I suspect you too! That’s the reason.
Please leave a comment if you knew this awesome Bildungsurlaub. And if you’ve taken a course, what was the topic?
Looking so much forward to learning what you’ve chosen 😄
All the best,