Treat yourself to training leave!

Kathleen Altmann

Fancy learning Spanish on Majorca, taking a public speaking course in Berlin or awareness training on the island of Rügen? Only very few employees take advantage of the opportunity to go on training leave for their personal development. And this is despite many federal German states generally having a statutory entitlement to five days of further training every year.

Wide range of courses on offer

First and foremost: the training activity does not need to be directly related to your professional work. So, it could be political training, language training, a yoga course or indeed any other further professional training. However, it must be a training course approved by your federal state for training leave. Depending on the federal state, training leave or Bildungsurlaub in German is also known as Bildungsfreistellung or Bildungszeit. You’ll find a list of approved courses on the internet.

Training leave is a matter for the individual federal states 

Because training leave is a matter for the individual states, this means that you have to follow the rules that apply in your federal state. There may be differences between some individual states. As a rule, you are legally entitled to five days of training leave per year and a maximum of ten days in a row over a two-year period.

Bad news for those of you who work in Bavaria and Saxony: in these states, you are not entitled to any training leave at all. In Saarland, however, you are entitled to six days of training leave per year.

In some federal states, you can even carry the five days over to the next year, provided you submit an application. In other federal states, it is possible to take ten days of training leave over a two-year period without applying. But then that’s it. You are not allowed to save up your entitlement or carry it over into the next two-year period.

Different rules may apply if you are in training or a civil servant. As a rule, you can apply for training leave after six or 12 months of working at your company.

Costs, continued payment of wages and deductibility

Who pays for what? This is the most frequently asked question by those interested in training leave. In short, you have to pay the costs of the further training yourself. Your employer allows you to take the time off so you can take part in the particular training course of your choice. Your employer will also continue to pay your wages for the days you are on leave.

You can generally offset at least a portion of the money you pay for your training leave against tax as income-related expenses. And if you want to go on a course that has health benefits, it might be worth contacting your health insurer. Some health insurance firms will even offer to contribute to the costs.

How to apply for training leave

You need to submit an application for training leave directly with your employer. As soon as it’s approved, you can register with the relevant provider.
And what’s important here is that training leave is a legal entitlement, so you don’t have to give your employer a reason or convince them that you need it. It’s enough that it’s a recognised training leave course.

You should generally apply for training leave at least four to eight weeks in advance. But do check the deadlines that apply in your particular federal state, as they may vary.


Contact Persons

Kathleen AltmannSpecialist