German politicians call for extra days off when holidays fall on weekend

German politicians call for extra days off when holidays fall on weekend

On top of all of our other worries, 2021 is a very bad year for public holidays in Germany - because an unusually large number fall on the weekend. A number of German politicians are therefore campaigning for these holidays to be “observed” on regular working days this year, as a kind of “coronavirus compensation”. 

Should workers be given the Monday off if a holiday falls on the weekend?

Most workers in Germany look forward to May Day, German Unity Day and Christmas Day as opportunities to take days off work without having to use up any holiday leave. This year, however, these national holidays all fall on the weekend, and in Germany you won’t be compensated with the following Monday off work - that’s just tough cookies; better luck next year. 

But with this year shaping up to be tougher than most - and the ongoing coronavirus lockdown forcing the closure of schools and placing added pressure on working parents - a broad association of politicians from several German political parties are calling for holidays that fall on the weekend to be “made up for” on working days, as a “coronavirus bonus”. 

“It would be a simple corona bonus”

The vice-president of the SPD parliamentary group Dirk Wiese told the Saarbrücker Zeitung, “it would be a recognition and a simple corona bonus if the following Monday were then given as a holiday to employees.” 

Similarly, the federal managing director of the left-wing Die Linke party, Jörg Schindler, demanded that employers be obliged to compensate for such holidays and that the Working Hours Act be changed accordingly. The labour market policy spokesperson for the Greens, Beate Mülle-Gemmeke, said: “Holidays are [important] days of relaxation for people,” and called for the proposal to be debated in parliament. 

This is not the first time that the issue has been raised in the Bundestag. The left-wing parliamentary group has made several attempts over the years for corresponding compensation regulations, most recently in 2018. They pointed out at the time that there are corresponding regulations in more than 85 countries for public holidays that fall on the weekend.



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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