Employment Law

Accumulated leave in Germany and NZ

Compared to NZ, leave entitlements in Germany are very generous. Although the statutory entitlement is only 20 days pa, most employment agreements provide for much more. In general, German employee’s enjoy between 25 – 30 days annual leave, which is also often topped up by overtime leave.

However, there is a significant difference. Under the German Holidays Act, annual leave must be taken each year, at the . There are no carrying-over provisions like in the NZ Holidays Act and all untaken leave is cancelled at the latest by 31 March the following year (unless the employee was prevented taking the leave for reasons outside their control, for instance long periods of sickness).

Employee’s in NZ can, by agreement with their employer, accumulate holidays even over a period of a few years. The idea of a longer break or a sabbatical lasting a few months have become more and more popular in previous years, so accumulating as much leave as possible helps in that respect.

So again, its always a question of balance and personal preference, generous leave per year without having the option to accumulate v not so generous, but able to save up.