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Bildungsurlaub: what we are entitled to

Legal entitlement to educational leave exists in all states – except Bavaria and Saxony. Our reporter Johannes Döbbelt researched for us how we come to Bildungsurlaub and what the deals are.

We can apply for educational leave almost anywhere – but regulations vary by state, says our rapporteur, Johannes Döbbelt. As for the length of the teaching leave to which we are entitled, there would be a great overlap: almost everywhere we have five days a year.

"As a rule, you are entitled to either five days of educational leave per year or ten days every two years."

Johannes Döbbelt, Deutschlandfunk Nova

Educational leave serves for further vocational or political education. And there are different educational institutions or courses in each state, which are officially recognized.

Exercise, relaxation, training

The course chosen by the worker does not have to be directly related to his profession: anti-stress courses, language courses or further education, for example on a computer, can also be considered educational leave.

"In Berlin, yoga is now recognized as an educational leave, as it ultimately serves professional advancement in times of stress."

Alexander Bredereck, Special Labor Law Specialist from Berlin

Sites like bildungsurlaub.de provide an overview of courses and events that are recognized as educational leave.

The cost of the course is usually not covered by the employer. But: We get regular pay, even though we work five days less.

"Many courses cost around 300 to 400 euros a week, plus travel and hotel costs, so you have to invest a little."

Johannes Döbbelt, Deutschlandfunk Nova

Perhaps the cost is why relatively few workers go on educational leave: According to the German Trade Union Confederation, that's only about two percent of all employees, our reporter says.

Only a few go on educational leave

Attorney Alexander Bredereck believes this is mainly because both employees and employers know too little – and the rules are so different from state to state.

"At the moment, no one is looking through it and then you have to convince your employer."

Alexander Bredereck, Special Labor Law Specialist from Berlin

Some employees, the lawyer says, may hesitate to speak with the boss about educational leave. It could be a win-win situation for both parties.