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In contrast to annual leave, employees do not have to deal with the issue of special leave very often. However, when it comes to this, it is important to know the regulations regarding special leave. For example, questions quickly arise as to how much special leave is granted by law, or the question: "How many days of special leave do I get in the event of death??"All this is explained step by step below.
What is special leave?
- the reason lies in the person of the employee,
- the duration of the leave is relatively short and
- the situation is not due to the employee's own fault.
Special leave can also be granted for a court date if you are called as a party or witness. The amount of special leave granted depends on whether the court is in the vicinity or employees have to travel a long distance.
Unpaid special leave can be granted if, for example, the child's illness extends over a long period of time, you have to deal with bad traffic conditions on the way to work or you have no way to get to work at all. Attendance at graduation or family functions may also be a reason for unpaid special leave to be.
Which special leave is legal?
When to get special leave? These questions are asked by many employees in certain personal situations.
The subject of special leave is regulated in § 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB). It states:
"The person obliged to perform the service shall not lose the right to remuneration if he is prevented from performing the service for a relatively insignificant period of time due to a reason inherent in his person and without his fault. He must, however, take into account the amount which he is entitled to for the period of prevention from a health or accident insurance existing on the basis of legal obligation".
Reasons for special leave
There are several reasons for special leave, which also differ relatively clearly from each other. Typical examples of paid special leave according to § 616 BGB can be listed as follows:
- Birth of a child
- Court date
- Illness of relatives
- Fulfillment of civic duties (judge:in, juror:in, civil protection)
- Relocation (if necessary due to work)
Special leave in case of death
Is there special leave in the event of a death? After a death it can be very difficult for the relatives to continue the usual everyday life. In addition, there are important matters and formalities such as the funeral, inheritance issues and apartment liquidation. This is why there is statutory special leave in the event of a death or special leave for a funeral. The length of the special leave depends on the degree of relationship to the deceased person and also the length of service and goodwill of the employer play a role.
The following guidelines usually apply to special leave in the event of a death:
- 3 days in the event of the death of a spouse or common-law partner
- 1-2 days in case of death of close relatives such as parents, children, siblings as well as stepchildren or foster children
- No entitlement to special leave in case of death of grandparents or parents-in-law
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Special leave for wedding
There is no explicit legal provision for special leave on marriage. However, Section 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB) can also be referred to here, since it is an extraordinary family event and paid time off from work can be expected. Special leave in the case of marriage usually covers a full day, but it can also happen that company and works agreements provide for a longer period.
Special leave in case of birth
Special leave for the birth of a child is similar to special leave for a wedding. The birth of one's own child can therefore also be seen as an extraordinary family event which justifies absence from work in accordance with § 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB). In principle, a special leave of one to two days can be claimed. You are not entitled to special leave if you do not work on the day of the birth. If an employee works from Monday to Friday, for example, they will not be granted special leave if the child is born on the weekend.
Other reasons for special leave
In addition to the above, there are several other reasons for special leave. However, as these reasons are usually not covered by the legal entitlement to special leave, it is necessary to clarify in advance with the employer to what extent there are operational exceptions and how accommodating the employer is with regard to special leave regulations. There is also the possibility of unpaid special leave. The following events may fall under these reasons:
- Special leave due to relocation
- Special leave in case of cure of husband, wife
- Special leave in case of death of the father-in-law, the mother-in-law
- Illness of the child over a longer period
- Adverse traffic conditions
- Family celebration
- Unexpected emergency situation (e.g.B. Flooding due to burst water pipes o.a.)
- Exercise of certain honorary offices (z.B. THW, volunteer fire department, DRK, works council)
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How to apply for special leave?
The procedure for requesting special paid leave and for requesting special unpaid leave is almost identical. In order to submit special leave to employers, a letter should be written stating the exact reason for which you should be granted special leave.
This letter should contain the following points:
- Your name and home address, with department and personnel number, if applicable
- Name and address of employer and relevant department
- A description of the situation to which the special leave is attributable
- An explanation of why you cannot come to work on that particular day
- The request to grant you special leave for personal reasons according to § 616 BGB
- Your signature
Small tip: There are many good sample letters for this on the Internet.
Will special leave be deducted from my vacation?
Special leave cannot be compared with statutory vacation days. Special leave must be approved by the employer, just like statutory leave, but it may not be deducted from statutory or contractual leave days. To be on the safe side, you should check with your employer.
Can the special leave also be taken later or. be made up for?
The answer in a nutshell is: No. Employees can only take special leave during the ongoing event that prevents them from performing their work. If the event (z.B. a death) or an appointment on a day when employees have time off anyway, z. B. a Saturday or a holiday, they do not get the next working day off. The special leave cannot be made up and then expires. Special leave is only intended to give employees time off if they are unable to perform their work even though they should be able to. The exemption is valid only until the time when the reason for the prevention of work ceases to exist.
What can I do if I don't get special leave, but my annual leave has already been used up??
If employees are not approved for paid special leave and also have no vacation days left, the only option is unpaid time off. Employees can refuse to perform their work if it is first checked whether it would be unreasonable for them to do so. On the other hand, employees have no choice but to sacrifice one of their vacation days if employers are not obliged to give them time off. If you have no vacation day left, the only thing left to do is talk to your superiors. If you can show a good reason for not coming to work, your employer may be understanding and approve the time off.