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Making the Most of Bildungsurlaub in Germany: A Guide to Educational Leave

Making the Most of Bildungsurlaub in Germany: A Guide to Educational Leave

In Germany, there’s a unique employment benefit that often goes unnoticed – Bildungsurlaub, or “education leave.” This valuable opportunity varies from state to state but offers employees extra time off work for educational and training purposes. In this article, we’ll delve into Making the most of Bildungsurlaub in Germany and what Bildungsurlaub means, how to use it effectively, and what courses qualify.


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What is Bildungsurlaub?

Bildungsurlaub, when translated, means “education leave.” It’s a special provision in Germany that allows employees to take paid leave for educational purposes, helping them improve their skills and knowledge related to their job.

Eligibility and Entitlement

The availability of Bildungsurlaub depends on the federal state in which you reside. In most states, employees are entitled to around five days of Bildungsurlaub per year, in addition to regular paid holidays. This means that if you have 25 paid holidays, you can still take five days for Bildungsurlaub. Only civil servants are exempt from this entitlement, and only two states, Bavaria and Saxony, do not offer Bildungsurlaub.

Carryover and Planning

In some cases, employees can carry over unused Bildungsurlaub days from one year to the next. This flexibility allows individuals to participate in longer courses that may significantly enhance their skills.

Qualifying Courses

To take advantage of Bildungsurlaub, you must engage in educational activities during your time away from work. Additionally, your employer must approve your chosen training, and they can reject it if they believe it isn’t relevant. While language courses, especially for non-German speakers, are often a safe choice, there are numerous other options available, including coding, web design, computer applications, leadership, and financial management. The key is to ensure that the course provider is recognized in your federal state. To simplify this process, you can use resources like Bildungsurlaub.de, which allows you to search for approved courses based on various criteria.

Mixing Business with Pleasure

One exciting aspect of Bildungsurlaub is the possibility of combining education with leisure. If your federal state recognizes a course offered in another location, even abroad, and you can justify its relevance to your work, you’re entitled to enroll. This means you can spend part of your day studying and the rest enjoying the local culture or attractions.

How to Utilize Bildungsurlaub?

Taking advantage of Bildungsurlaub can be a bit complex, which may explain why only a small percentage of eligible individuals use it. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

    1. Find an accredited course that interests you and register your interest with the course provider.
    2. Request documents from the provider that you can submit to your employer.
    3. Send these documents to your employer at least four to eight weeks before the course begins, allowing them two to three weeks to respond.
    4. If your employer approves, attend the course. Ensure you receive a confirmation of your attendance, as this is crucial for obtaining your paid leave.
    5. Upon returning, make a copy of your attendance record and submit it to your employer.

Bildungsurlaub is a unique benefit that can significantly enhance your skills and knowledge while providing an opportunity to explore new subjects or even travel. By understanding the process and following these steps, you can make the most of this “education leave” and advance both personally and professionally.

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