Part-time leave entitlement: What applies to employees?

If you want to work shorter, you can reduce your workload. But how does the vacation entitlement change with part-time? Does less work mean less free days? Answer: It depends.

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Part time is required

Full-time employment is not practical or possible for every worker. An alternative can then be a part-time job. In such a case, the person concerned reduces his working time. This happens more often. For example, statistics from the Employment Agency show that in 2017 a total of 32.2 million people were employed by social insurance. Nine million of these were part-time. In 2007, that amounted to 5.1 million.

That says the federal leave law

Of course, this trend also raises the question of vacation entitlement for part-time work. He can, but must not be less compared to full time. What makes the difference, shows a look at the Federal Holiday Act (BUrlG) . Depending on the number of working days per week, it requires a minimum of paid leave for employees. It basically starts from a six-day week. This results in a claim of 24 leave days per year according to BUrlG. More usual, however, is the five-day week, which corresponds to 20 days of vacation.

As I said, this is the permissible lower limit. Employers can not afford less vacation days. More can be agreed in collective agreements, for example.

It depends on the working days

Important is the explicit reference to the working days . Working hours, on the other hand, play no role in the Federal Holiday Law. What does that mean in concrete terms?

For example, you halve your weekly working hours, but continue to do so at the previously agreed full-time number of five days as an example. In this case, nothing changes in your holiday entitlement – despite part-time! So if you have had 20 or more days vacation so far, then it stays that way.

Calculate holiday entitlement in part-time

However, if you reduce the number of working days, the holiday entitlement will be reduced. How much can be calculated with the following general formula :

Days of vacation (full time) divided by the usual number of full-time work days in the company multiplied by the number of part-time working days of the employee.

Here is an example: Your holiday entitlement in full time is 26 days. Your company works on five days a week. You want to reduce your working time to three days in the future. Then the part-time job reduces the vacation entitlement to 15.6 days (26 ÷ 5 · 3 = 15.6). Rounding up this gives 16 days a year.

Holiday entitlement for changes in the current year

However, this bill only works if the part-time starts on January 1st. If you change from full-time to part-time employment later in the year , it will no longer apply. Assuming that the full-time lasts from the beginning of the year to April (four months) and the part-time starts on the first of May (eight months), then the calculation under the above conditions looks like this:

Partial leave entitlement from full-time

26 (full-time vacation days per year) ÷ 12 (months per year) · 4 (months full-time) = 8.6 (proportion of vacation days)

Partial leave entitlement from part-time work

16 (part-time leave days per year) ÷ 12 (months per year) · 8 (months part-time) = 10.6 (proportion of days off)

This adds up to a rounded holiday entitlement of 19 days in the year in which the change from full-time to part-time takes place (8.6 + 10.6 = 19.2).


  • The statutory holiday entitlement is based on the number of weekly working days.
  • If you work part-time, you may spend as many days as a full-time employee – if you work on as many days.
  • Part-time leave entitlement can be calculated using a formula.

Here you will find more information on the subject: vacation entitlement

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