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Vacation and General Closure


Every Freie Universität Berlin employee is entitled to annual paid vacation leave, calculated on the basis of the calendar year.

Regulations on paid vacation allowance, paid leave, and special/compassionate leave are governed by legislative requirements and the applicable collective agreements. Employees are only entitled to the full vacation allowance after they have been employed for six months.

Both civil servants and employees whose regular weekly hours are based on a five-day work week are entitled to 30 working days’ paid vacation leave a year. Working days are defined as all days of the year on which the employee is regularly required to work (even if they do not actually work on that day), with the exception of public holidays that fall on work days and for which employees are not entitled to time off in lieu. If your weekly working hours are worked across more or fewer than five days a week, your vacation entitlement will be increased or reduced accordingly.

Requesting Paid Leave

Paid leave requests from employees based in the departments, central institutes, central facilities, and other organizational units are approved by the employee’s supervisor and/or the head of the department/institute. Requests should be made in advance, and paid leave cannot be taken until the request has been approved. Where it is unclear whether a request has been approved or not, the personnel department will make the decision. Special leave requests should be addressed to the personnel department via the employee’s supervisor and the departmental administration.

*** Please note: The vacation leave for employees in public service (Tarifbeschäftigte) must be taken within the current calendar year. Otherwise it will expire if it's not taken by September 30 of the following year at the latest (Personalblatt 02/2019).


General Closure

A “general closure” is a period of time in which the employer stipulates that leave must be taken by all staff, or all staff within a particular part of the organization.

*** Please note: Freie Universität Berlin's decision to stipulate a general closure of the university, foreseen for five days at the end of December 2022 and the beginning of January 2023, has been repealed. The staff bulletin concerning general closures at Freie Universität Berlin for 2020/2021, 2021/2022, 2022/2023, and 2023/2024, published in Personalblatt 05/2019, has been rescinded. Please see here for more information on the changes to the general closure rule.


Taking Special Leave Instead of Receiving a Christmas Bonus

It is possible to request unpaid special leave lasting up to four weeks in exchange for a salary adjustment for the months of November and/or December. Requests can only be approved as long as your professional responsibilities do not stand in the way. The corresponding payments for the period of special leave shall initially be paid in advance, but the cost will be officially offset in November/December when you receive your annual end-of-year additional payment.

This special leave must be taken in full seven-day weeks. Both employees and civil servants are eligible to apply for this kind of leave. Teaching faculty are unfortunately not entitled to it. You can apply for the special leave described above by getting in touch with your personnel office and submitting a statement from your supervisor.

Further information is available in Freie Universität’s official bulletin FU-Mitteilungen no. 09/97 of November 21, 1997, last amended by FU-Mitteilungen no. 06/03 of June 2, 2003. You can also obtain more information from your departmental administration office, or the head of your office.

Your personnel department will be happy to help if you have questions or would like to know more about possible effects this leave might have on your social security insurance.