Taking Leave for Further Education and Training (Bildungsurlaub)
The “Bildungsurlaub” program in Germany allows you to take paid leave from work to participate in a state-recognized further education course. Basically, anyone who is employed or in a de facto employment relationship can take advantage of this opportunity. Please note that special federal and state regulations apply to public officials (“Beamte/Beamtinnen”). This right is enshrined in Berlin’s Educational Leave Law (Bildungsurlaubsgesetz – BiUrlG).
You can apply for educational leave six months after your employment contract has begun at the earliest. The educational program must last a minimum of one day. Employees and trainees over the age of 25 are entitled to 10 days over a two-year period (based on a five-day work week), while employees and trainees under the age of 25 are entitled to 10 days each year.
You must inform your employer of your wish to take a Bildungsurlaub and the dates you want to take off well in advance – ideally at least six weeks before you plan to take leave. You can send your application and your “Anerkennungsbescheid” (a document from the educational institution or training organization indicating that the course is recognized by the state as Bildungsurlaub) to the personnel department via your supervisor. Generally speaking, an application for educational leave with pay may not be rejected, unless pressing issues at work take precedence.
You can find further information on the websites of the Senate Department for Integration, Labor and Social Services (Senatsverwaltung für Integration, Arbeit und Soziales) and Berlin’s Educational Leave Law.