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What is Bildungsurlaub? Am I entitled to educational leave? And how can I apply for educational leave? We provide an overview with the most important information for employees?

DGB / rawpixel / 123rf.com

Learn something new, develop personally and professionally: 77 percent of employees are interested in further training - but only one to two percent take educational leave, although they are legally entitled to it in almost all federal states. Some do not know their entitlement to leave, others do not know how to apply for educational leave or fear disadvantages in the company. We answer the most important questions.

Who is entitled to educational leave?

In 14 out of 16 federal states there is a legal right to educational leave for employees:

  • Baden-Wuerttemberg
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
  • Hesse
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • Lower Saxony
  • North Rhine Westphalia
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Saarland
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thuringia
Educational holiday in Bavaria and Saxony

Bavaria and Saxony are currently the only two federal states in which there is no statutory right to educational leave.

What is Bildungsurlaub?

For an educational leave (referred to as educational leave or educational time in some federal states), the employer must give its employees paid leave for further training. Employees (in 14 out of 16 federal states) are legally entitled to this. Educational leave is granted ADDITIONALLY to the regular vacation entitlement - no vacation is reduced or deducted for educational leave. The content of the training does not necessarily have to be related to the professional activity.

How high is the entitlement to educational leave?

As a rule, employees are entitled to five days of educational leave per year or ten days in two years.

Which seminars can I attend for an educational leave?

The content of the training does not have to be directly related to the professional activity. The spectrum ranges from language courses and specific professional training to political seminars or personality-building courses. The prerequisite for the exemption is that the course is recognized as educational leave. The DGB-Bildungswerk also offers recognized seminars on various topics.

What are the requirements for an educational leave?

The requirements for educational leave: Basically, there must be a legal entitlement to educational leave in your federal state and you have to choose a seminar that is recognized as educational leave.

Who pays the educational leave?

During the educational leave, the employer continues to pay the wage or salary, as with regular leave. He does not cover the course fees, expenses for teaching materials or costs for travel and accommodation. These must be borne by the employees themselves. However, you can claim the expenses in your tax return.


Apply for educational leave - this is how it works:

How can employees apply for educational leave from their employer? There may be slightly different regulations for an application for educational leave from federal state to federal state. The following graphic shows the basic process:

Path to Bildungsurlaub DGB Bildungswerk

Apply for educational leave step by step:


1. Find out whether and what entitlement you are entitled to educational leave (for example via the educational leave laws and information pages of your federal state in the following list) and find out about seminar offers.

Information from the federal states on educational leave, educational leave and educational time

2. Select a suitable seminar or course for your educational leave from a provider for educational leave and register.

3. The organizer of the educational leave seminar will usually send you information material about the seminar as well as documents for applying for educational leave, which you can use to apply for educational leave from your employer.

4. Apply for educational leave from your employer as early as possible and observe the applicable deadlines. The following list gives an initial overview of how many weeks before the start of educational leave in the individual federal states the application must be submitted to the employer:

  • Baden-W├╝rttemberg: 8 weeks before the start
  • Berlin: 6 weeks before the start
  • Brandenburg: 6 weeks before the start
  • Bremen: 4 weeks before the start
  • Hamburg: 6 weeks before the start
  • Hessen: 6 weeks before the start
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: 8 weeks before the start
  • Lower Saxony: 4 weeks before the start
  • North Rhine Westphalia: 6 weeks before the start
  • Rhineland-Palatinate: 6 weeks before the start
  • Saarland: 6 weeks before the start
  • Saxony-Anhalt: 6 weeks before the start
  • Schleswig-Holstein: 6 weeks before the start
  • Thuringia: 8 weeks before the start