Get paid to take an education vacation

Did you know that in most of Germany there’s a law allowing workers to take extra paid days off beyond their normal amount of vacation?

And, no, we’re not referring to new relief measures related to the pandemic. In some states, this law has been around for over 40 years. In U.S. English, you could call it an “education vacation” or, more formally, “educational leave.” In German you know it as Bildungsurlaub or Bildungsfreistellung.

The point of educational leave is that employees can learn something to improve their own skillsets for personal benefit while also becoming more valuable to the companies they work for. In order to take educational leave, employees need to identify a certified training event they plan to attend.

Recently, the Ministry of Science, Further Education, and Culture recognized a multi-day TIP TOP seminar on improving English communication skills as an official option for Bildungsurlaub for those working in Hessia, the Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland.

After we tell you a little bit more about how educational leave works, we’ll fill you in on what you could learn in TIP TOP’s seminar and how to sign up. Also be aware that the course is open to anyone who’s interested from anywhere, not just those on an education vacation.


How many days can an educational leave be?

In most German states, law mandates that employees can take up to 10 days of educational leave within two calendar years on top of the number of vacation days stated in their contract. For example, if you normally have 22 days of vacation in a year, you could take your normal 44 days off over two years but also take an additional 10 for educational leave, totalling 54 days.

There are some states where this isn’t the case. Here are the exceptions:

  • Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia: Allow for five days per one calendar year.
  • Saarland: Allows employees to take six days of educational leave per one calendar year, but if the leave lasts more than three days, the employee is no longer paid as if it’s normal vacation (they must use their own arbeitsfreie Zeit).
  • Saxony and Bavaria: Have no laws allowing for educational leave.

Keep in mind that the law that applies to you is based on where you work and not where you live.


Do I get paid during educational leave?

Yes. Like we said before, educational leave is treated like extra days of normal vacation. You will be paid just as if you had worked a day at the office (except if you work in the Saarland and your course is longer than three days).

However, it’s important to note that your employer does not have to pay any of the costs related to the event or training you attend.


What would a TIP TOP education vacation be like?

As you probably know, participating in a TIP TOP seminar during your educational leave would not mean just doing worksheets or listening to a teacher talk for hours. We build our lessons to be engaging and interactive by utilizing educational games, role playing, and thought-provoking materials.

We don’t just teach you a skill; we make sure you have a chance to practice it in a memorable way so it sticks with you long after a course is over.

That same philosophy is behind the seminars we offer for those on educational leave.

During the pandemic, we’re offering a three-day online seminar from February 22-24. Participants will learn to avoid some of the most common (and embarrassing) mistakes German speakers make in English, how to make sure their word choice creates the appropriate tone during casual or business conversations, how to be persuasive when speaking English, and more.

You can visit the Bildungsurlaub page on our website to learn more.


Hoping to see you soon!

All of us at TIP TOP wish you a very happy new year. Maybe we’ll see you soon as the tour guides for your education vacation!



take days off – sich Tage frei nehmen
law – Gesetz
beyond – darüber … hinaus
to refer to – beziehen auf etw.
relief measures – Hilfsmaßnahmen
personal benefit – persönlicher Nutzen
valuable – nützlich, wertvoll
to indentify – ermitteln, recherchieren
certified training event – zertifiziertes Trainingsprogramm
fill s.o. in – jem. über etwas ins Bilde setzen
to sign up – sich anmelden
law mandate – gesetzliche Maßgabe
to mandate – anordnen
totalling – das macht zusammen
take up to – wahrnehmen bis zu
Thuringia – Thüringen
Saxony – Sachsen
Bavaria – Bayern
to be treated – behandelt werden
except if – es sei denn, außer
to attend – an etw. teilnehmen
engaging – fesselnd, ansprechend
utilizing – verwendend, nutzend
thought-provoking materials – zum Nachdenken anregende Materialien
memorable – einprägsam, unvergesslich
participant – Teilnehmer
embarrassing – peinlich
appropriate tone – angemessener Ton
to be persuasive – überzeugend sein
to guide – führen

Excite Your Senses

On our YouTube channel, you can follow along as a native speaker reads this month’s Learning Nugget accompanied by music and pictures.

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