vacation with school-age children – what does labor law say?

Parents of school-age children are thereby dependent on the official school vacations, insofar as they would like to take a vacation together with the whole family. In practice, it is often the case that employees with children are given priority in vacation planning when it comes to being able to take vacation during the school vacations. Employees without children then often have to cut back and plan their vacations outside the vacation season. But what if employees with and without children cannot agree among themselves? Do parents actually also have priority on the part of the legislator with regard to their vacation wishes?

Vacation with school-age children

Vacations with school-age children – do parents have priority at vacation time?

The legal basis for planning vacation days is the federal vacation act (burlg), also known as vacation law. § section 7 of the burlgs sentence 1 reads as follows:

"When determining the timing of vacation, the employee's vacation wishes must be taken into account, unless their consideration conflicts with urgent operational concerns or vacation wishes of other employees who deserve priority from a social point of view."

In light of the statement "from a social point of view," the employer has the task of weighing which employees are most likely to need leave during school vacations. Various scenarios come into question for this:

An employee has children who still go to school and can go away together with these as a result exclusively in the school vacations.

One employee has a partner who is only granted leave at certain times. In order to take a vacation together with the partner, it must be coordinated.

An employee has been undergoing rehabilitation such as a spa treatment and wants to claim vacation time immediately afterwards. According to burlg, the employer would even be legally obligated to grant the leave in this case, even if there are operational reasons not to do so.

In principle, employees who work five days a week are entitled to a minimum leave of 20 days, and if you work a 6-day week, you are entitled to at least 24 days. However, the employer can grant more vacation days.
As far as the allocation of these vacation days is concerned, employees are initially free to decide how to allocate their vacation days. However, vacation requests may be denied by the employer if schedules conflict with those of colleagues or if there are urgent operational reasons for not taking vacation in a given period of time. Such reasons may be, for example, a seasonally high workload or the situation that an urgent order must be completed because otherwise there is a threat that the customer will be lost. According to labor law, parents get priority in vacation planning. In principle, however, they are not entitled to preferential treatment. This leads to the possibility of vacation planning conflicts – both with other parents and with childless colleagues.

Can just solutions be found?

In order to maintain industrial peace and to be able to maintain a good relationship with colleagues, you should enter into an exchange with them. It would be best if you find a compromise together. Perhaps colleagues can agree among themselves that those with school-age children can take two weeks off at a time during the school vacations. Childless employees can still get a week's vacation in return during the summer months.
So-called rolling systems ensure, with regard to vacation planning, that employees with children take turns each year as to who gets to name their vacation dates first. Such internal regulations ensure fairness and prevent resentment among colleagues.
Another solution can be to give employees who do not get vacation time during the vacation period preferential treatment when it comes to planning bridge days.


Generally, parents with children do not have an unrestricted right to take a vacation during vacation periods. If there is any disagreement between employees regarding vacation requests, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure a balanced distribution from a social standpoint. Support in the event of disagreements can also be provided, for example, by the works council. Pursuant to section 87 sentence 1 of the works constitution act, the latter has a right of co-determination in matters relating to vacations.

For employees with school-age children who would like to enjoy a vacation with the whole family, the cost factor often plays a not insignificant role in addition to the coordination of schedules. Especially in the peak season, a family vacation can become an expensive trip. An installment loan gives you the opportunity to finance a vacation with the whole family relatively easily and at short notice. This means that you are free to decide at which time of the year or vacation period you would prefer to take your vacation and are more independent of the vacation planning of other colleagues, whether with or without school-age children.