Reduction of holiday due to short-time work? Current labour law

An interesting question, especially in Corona times:

Is the holiday entitlement automatically reduced due to short-time work? Or is an individual agreement with the employee or a company agreement necessary? This has been controversial until now.

Now the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) has eliminated this legal uncertainty.

Read more details on the current ruling.

Can holiday entitlement be reduced in the event of short-time working?

The short answer: Yes, a reduction of leave is legal. If individual working days are completely lost due to short-time work, this must be taken into account when calculating annual leave.

In the underlying judgment of 30 November 2021, the plaintiff was employed three days per week and had a pro rata holiday entitlement of 14 working days per year. The defendant employer introduced short-time work due to the Corona pandemic. The parties entered into short-time work agreements according to which the plaintiff was, inter alia, completely exempt from compulsory work in the months of April, May and October 2020 and only worked a total of five days in the months of November and December.

The employer then reduced the plaintiff’s annual leave for 2020 to 11.5 working days. The plaintiff filed a complaint against this.

She was of the opinion that the working days lost due to short-time work had to be considered as working days under holiday law and that a reduction of the holiday by 2.5 days was therefore not lawful.

However, both the lower courts and the BAG dismissed the action.

The BAG explained that working days lost due to short-time work are not to be equated with periods of compulsory work.

For this reason, a reduction of the holiday entitlement is permissible.

You have questions about the latest Corona rules?

If you have any questions about this, or about labour law in general, I am happy to help. If you need assistance, please contact me.
I will be happy to help.

Questions about labour law?

Christian Seidel

Lawyer, Specialist in labour law
Authorised signatory of ACCONSIS GmbH Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft

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