Germany: Employees Age 58 and Over Allowed More Vacation Days, Court Rules

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By Andrea Barbara Schuessler

Oct. 24—Employees in the private sector aged 58 and over are entitled to take more vacation days than younger colleagues, Germany's Federal Labor Court ruled Oct. 21 (9 AZR 956/12), according to a court press statement.

The case at issue involved seven employees aged 45 to 56 working at a shoe company in Germany's state of North-Rhine Westphalia who filed a complaint arguing they should be granted the same number of vacation days (36 compared to 34) as their older colleagues. The employer argued that, because the manufacture of footwear is physically tiring work and older employees need more time than younger to recover, it had a responsibility to provide more vacation days to older employees.

Agreeing with the employer, the court held that more vacation days for older employees would not violate the principle of equality as long as the additional leave was reasonable and clearly for the protection of the older employees.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Barbara Schuessler in Berlin at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com.

The court press release is available in German at http://www.bag-urteil.com/21-10-2014-9-azr-956-12. According to a court spokesperson, full text of the ruling will be available, also in German, in two to three months at http://juris.bundesarbeitsgericht.de/cgi-bin/rechtsprechung/list.py?Gericht=bag&Art=en. The Federal Leave Act is available at http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bundesrecht/burlg/gesamt.pdf.

For more information on German HR law and regulation, see the Germany primer.