What you need to keep in mind when taking a vacation

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There are warm days, lots of public holidays, and it’s not too long until vacation. As a result, more and more people are currently planning their vacations, which is reflected in the number of inquiries received by the trade unions. ÖGB labor law expert Michael Trinko therefore answers the most important questions on how to take a vacation correctly.

Most people will already know this: In principle, you are entitled to paid vacation of at least five weeks every year. “But I can’t go on vacation whenever I want. Vacation must be agreed upon between the employee and employer – taking into account the needs of the company and the employee’s ability to recover,” says Trinko.

For parents, practically the only time to take a longer vacation is during school vacations. However, they are not generally entitled to this. “It always requires an agreement between the employee and employer, taking into account the interests of both parties,” says the ÖGB expert.

However, suppose an employee wants to take part of their vacation in the summer because they have a school-age child. In that case, the employer must generally take this into account and agree to the vacation agreement, unless there are significant operational requirements to the contrary.

Is anyone who suddenly falls ill on vacation just out of luck? Not at all! Of course, you should always go to the doctor, not least so that you can provide your employer with a certificate of incapacity for work. The same applies on vacation: if you are sick for more than three days, your vacation days will not be deducted.
“However, the prerequisite for this is that you notify the employer of your illness immediately after three days of illness at the latest and present the sick leave confirmation to the employer when you return to work.” Please note: The vacation is not extended by the days of sick leave; the originally agreed-upon end of vacation remains unchanged.

In principle, vacation days cannot be paid out, as this would contradict the purpose of recreation. However, if the employment relationship has ended and there are still vacation days left, these can be paid out.
Especially after the last pandemic years, when travel was hardly possible, many vacation days accumulated. But beware: entitlement to vacation expires two years after the end of the vacation year in which it was taken. This means you have three years to use up your leave.

“Employers even have to tell their employees that vacations could expire explicitly.
If they do not do this, the entitlement to leave remains in force in certain cases. This is where the work council or your trade union can help!” emphasizes ÖGB employment law expert Trinko.

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