The leave entitlement remains unaffected even during pregnancy, because according to Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) expectant mothers from their pregnancy should not be disadvantaged. That's why pregnant women are allowed to spend the rest of their holidays years later.
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If you are employed full-time, you are entitled to at least 24 days leave under the Federal Holiday Law. Of course, you can also have more work days agreed by contract. Since absence during maternity leave does not count as a period of absence, this does not diminish the entitlement to leave. So you have just as much vacation available as if you had not gotten pregnant.
Normally, employees must use their holidays within the calendar year in which the leave entitlement arises. Unused days expire and may be taken only in exceptional cases until 31 March of the following year.
In other words, the leave entitlement for pregnancy is regulated, because six weeks before and at least eight weeks after childbirth mothers are not allowed to work anyway – they have a statutory employment ban. This period of maternity leave is often directly followed by parental leave, which can take up to three years. So little opportunity to claim the leave.
Therefore, § 17 MuSchG regulates that the other leave days before the pregnancy may also be taken after maternity leave or after parental leave. That does not have to be directly afterwards. You have time until the end of the year following the year you returned to work.
An example to clarify: Ms. K. went to maternity leave on 1 November 2015, but still had five days remaining vacation for the year. After childbirth and maternity leave, she took parental leave for one year and returned to the office on February 1, 2017. She can claim her five holidays from 2015 until the end of 2018.
Here you will find more information on the subject: vacation entitlement
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