Vacation entitlement and maternity protection: Your rights as an employee

Before the birth of a child, a working expectant mother has much to plan and organize. Your holiday entitlement before and after maternity leave is also an important topic. Does she have to take all the holiday she is entitled to before starting maternity leave? And what happens to it, if she can not – or wants to?

Stress with your employer? With us you come to your right. >>

Legislature protects pregnant women

  Legislation protects pregnant women with the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) in a special way – including termination due to pregnancy, health hazards and financial losses.

In addition, the law regulates the so-called maternity periods. Therefore expectant mothers may stay at home six weeks before the expected date of birth, unless they want to work explicitly. After the birth, however , they usually have to stay away for eight weeks or so; There is a maternity protection prohibition on employment – this is mandatory in the law.

Holiday entitlement remains in maternity protection

During maternity leave, women are not available to their employer. Do you still earn vacation entitlements? This question of leave entitlement during maternity leave is regulated by §24 MuSchG. According to this, "downtime due to an employment ban is considered as employment time".

In plain language, this simply means: Even for the period of maternity protection, you are proportionally on vacation. The number of vacation days can be easily calculated: Per month maternity you earn the right to 1/12 of your annual leave. With 30 leave days per year, this results in a holiday entitlement of 2.5 days per month.

Remaining leave, which was not taken before the start of maternity leave, remains with the young mother. According to the law, even after the following year, after returning to work, she has time to take the remaining days off – this is also stipulated in §24 MuSchG.

Example: You will be taking maternity leave at the end of June 2019. At the time you are still 15 days left for this year. If you were to work again after the eight-week maternity leave period, you could take those 15 days until the end of 2020.

© Antonioguillem

Parental leave: leave entitlement from maternity leave is retained

The leave entitlement from the maternity protection is also retained if the young mother goes directly into parental leave after the eight-week maternity leave – possibly even over several years.

Example: After the maternity leave you take a two-year parental leave. Instead of the fall of 2019, as in the example above, you will not resume work until autumn 2021. The 15 days rest leave from 2019 you can take until the end of 2022.

Actually, the Federal Holiday Act stipulates that annual leave must be granted and taken in the current year ; Unless the employment contract contains deviating regulations. Only exceptionally – for example, in case of prolonged illness of the employee – holidays may be transferred on request in the next calendar year (§ 7 paragraph 3 Federal Holiday Act).

However, this provision is suspended by the Maternity Protection Act; it gives young mothers a special position. Therefore, an employer can not rely on the Federal Holiday Law in this case.

Vacation entitlement from parental leave may be reduced

During maternity leave, a working woman acquires, therefore, unrestricted vacation entitlements, which the employer must grant. It looks different during parental leave. During this time the employment relationship is suspended and the employer is allowed to reduce holidays. Mind you may – he does not have to. Parental leave entitlement is regulated by the law on parental allowance and parental leave (BEEG) in §17 (1).


  • Even during the maternity protection periods, the expectant or young mother acquires vacation entitlements in the same amount as if she were working.
  • Remaining leave incurred before the maternity leave and not yet taken remains intact during the period of grace and possibly also during parental leave.
  • Remaining leave can be taken until the end of the following year after returning to work.
  • The Federal Holiday Act is overridden in this regard by the Maternity Protection Act.

Please read the content of our legal information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *