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Title basically says it all. January 1st is a permanent holiday in the country I live in. My vacation is cut by 2 days. So far I only got an email confirming this from somebody from HR and haven't spoken to my boss yet. Am a bit lost on what to do now. During the job interview it was never specified which exact day I'd start, they just mentioned the beginning of the year. What should I say to my boss concerning this topic? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: Turns out my boss is pretty decent, he managed to sort this out for me. Still Not sure if this was intentional from HR but the email I got sure sounded like it. Thanks to everybody for the help!

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    Can your HR rep give you a written policy explaining how vacation time is accrued or calculated? – dwizum Jan 23 at 19:50
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    This is a reddish yellow flag to me. Never heard of anything like this. Get things in writing. – bytepusher Jan 23 at 20:33
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    Aren’t mandatory days off counted differently in Germany? They do in Netherlands. Still doesn’t explain the second day though. Hopeful guess: they rounded the 25.9 remaining days down? – Cyonis Jan 23 at 21:28
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    Does your contract state 2. Jan. as starting date? 27 days of vacation is already pretty low, deducting two (!) days because your contract misses one day (and an official holiday!) from the year is completely unreasonable. Yes, talk to your manager, express your dissatisfaction with this and ask them to sort it out. If they can't fix this, look for a new job (should be easy in the current economy) and leave during the probation period. If HR screws you over during your first month, you don't want to work there. I'm assuming they don't pay you way over market rate. – Roland Jan 24 at 7:52
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    Btw, if your initials are LM and you were born in 1993, you should hope that no one from HR reads this. It's unlikely, but ... just a lesson to all newcomers who might post something that could conceivable be construed as being critical of their company. Lutz/Luks/Ludwig ... whatever ... after this question is answered, you may want to delete your account & make a new one – Mawg Jan 24 at 8:33
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Assuming you started on the 2nd of January, you should have the full holiday for the year. I am not a lawyer, ofc, but I have experienced this scenario myself and done some research.

They are allowed to take holidays off if you start later in the year - however, only in proportion to how much later you've started. So assuming you start half a year in, you get half the holidays etc.

This calculation is made based on working days though. Thus, assuming you've started on the 2nd of January, you have missed 0 working days of the year, ergo no holidays should be lost.

Even if you had started a day late, this would be 1 of 252 days missed, and should entitle you to 251/252 of your normal holidays. Keep in mind this number may differ due to regional holidays.

Update: as one of the commenters pointed out, this may be calculated as vacation days per month instead, which may lead to a different result generally speaking.

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    I think that's not completely correct. AFAIK what matters are vacation days per month, not working days actually worked. For example if you leave your job mid-month you have the right to keep half of the vacation days for this month (even if there was for example a holiday in the first half). If you stay till the last day of the month, you keep all the vacation days for this month. But it's not like, if you stay 1/3 of the month you keep 1/3 of the vacation days. I can be wrong, I'm not a lawyer. – BigMadAndy Jan 23 at 20:41
  • I started 2nd of January, therefore I missed 0 working days. My total vacation as stated in contract is 27 days, so yeah looks like they cut my full vacation for january. – NewEyes Jan 23 at 20:44
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    The problem is that Jan 1st is a holiday, So everyone working at the company gets the holiday, except the poster. Very sneaky, and it tells you everything you need to know about that company. – gnasher729 Jan 23 at 21:36
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    Even if calculating by vacation days per month: If the start date is the 2nd, it simply does not matter what happened on the 1st, since the contract hadn't started. Yes, the month now has a day less, but that does not count as the OP having taken a holiday. – bytepusher Jan 24 at 0:54
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Holiday is regulated by the Bundesurlaubsgesetz in Germany. It explains how many minimum days there are, and how the days you are owed are calculated.

The following parts are relevant. All translations and emphases are mine.

§ 3 Dauer des Urlaubs
(1) Der Urlaub beträgt jährlich mindestens 24 Werktage.
(2) Als Werktage gelten alle Kalendertage, die nicht Sonn- oder gesetzliche Feiertage sind.

This says you are entitled to at least 24 working days of holiday. Many companies do more, with the generally expected maximum being 30 working days.

§ 5 Teilurlaub
(1) Anspruch auf ein Zwölftel des Jahresurlaubs für jeden vollen Monat des Bestehens des Arbeitsverhältnisses hat der Arbeitnehmer
a) für Zeiten eines Kalenderjahrs, für die er wegen Nichterfüllung der Wartezeit in diesem Kalenderjahr keinen vollen Urlaubsanspruch erwirbt;
b)
wenn er vor erfüllter Wartezeit aus dem Arbeitsverhältnis ausscheidet;
c)
wenn er nach erfüllter Wartezeit in der ersten Hälfte eines Kalenderjahrs aus dem Arbeitsverhältnis ausscheidet.
(2) Bruchteile von Urlaubstagen, die mindestens einen halben Tag ergeben, sind auf volle Urlaubstage aufzurunden.

This regulates how days are calculated if you work for less than an entire calendar year. You are entitled to one twelfth of your overall yearly holiday for every full month (**not calendar month) you are working, after having worked the first six month of your employment. If your employment has been shorter than 6 months, you are entitled to the holiday based on full months. Your partial holiday is rounded up to full days if the partial day is at least a half-day.

So your contract says 27 days per year. That's 2.25 days per month. For the first six months of your employment (which might coincide with your trial period (Probezeit)), you are entitled to those 2.25 days for every full month you have worked. So when you start on the 2nd of January, the period of one month ends on the 1st of February. If you start on the 1st of January, the period of one month ends on the 31st of January.

This means that on the 2nd of February you are legally allowed to take 2 days off (as most companies don't do quarter days). If you don't take that, then on the 2nd of March you have 4.5 days, so now this is rounded up to five days.

If you don't take the holiday during the first six months, you will be allowed to take a longer period than the 23.5 days you have accrued on at the end of June in one go. In theory, you could take three or four weeks in one go from the 2nd of July.

In practice, most companies don't do this waiting time. The companies I have worked at in Germany didn't mind if in the first month you went away for a week if there was a good reason, like having already planned a holiday and telling them during the interview.

In conclusion, I think there is miscommunication going on, or the software they use is flawed. Most companies will use some sort of holiday calculator if they have people working in offices. These programs are unfortunately often not very well designed, as it seems to be a niche market. Therefore it's possible that it just calculates it wrong.

Talk to them again to clarify. Ask to have the contract start on the 1st. If they refuse, ask why. If they say because of the bank holiday, ask why that's a problem. It seems like someone there is incompetent. Of course it could be that they are malicious, but really what do they gain from giving only new employees that start at the beginning of the year two days fewer holiday in the first year? It would make much more sense to simply write into the contract that your holiday is 25 days, and you get two extra days granted from the 2nd year of employment. I've had a clause like this in the past.

According to my research, this means that initially you are not e

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    You are not Eeeeeeee.... Resembles to Monty Python and the Holy Grail where they find the writing on the wall. ;-) – Benedikt Bauer Jan 24 at 18:13
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Huh, that's a nice welcome gift, isn't it?

Let me start by saying that I've never heard about anybody having a job officially starting Jan. 2nd, because Jan. 1st is a holiday.

That's super strange and in itself shows something might be wrong with the company if they want to save one day salary (or even two-three days, counting in the vacation)). If you had asked about it before signing the contract, I would have written it's a red flag. But it's too late for that now.

In Germany things like vacation are regulated by law. I'm not a lawyer but I would think they can cut you not more than half the vacation days which according to your contract you receive for one month. Normally, you have 2-3 days of vacation per month - you need to check that in your contract. Tbh, I think it could be illegal to do even that if you argued with them, but you probably don't feel like going to court over a day or two of vacation. So ask the HR for info on the background of their decision, if they want to deprive you of all vacation for January send them some link to legal sources and treat it as a lesson for the future.

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    Why is it so weird to have someone start on Jan. 2nd? If you can't show up to the office to sign the on-boarding papers until the 2nd, then that's your start date. If you want that Jan. 1st holiday, then you usually need to be in the office by Dec. 30th. – David K Jan 23 at 20:42
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    What are "onboarding papers"? The contract? Non-disclosure? Privacy regulations? You normally sign all that before starting. And yes, it's completely unusual to have Jan. 2nd as the start date - I've had several job offers starting in January, have read several job contracts starting in Jan. but have never seen anything like that. – BigMadAndy Jan 23 at 20:47
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    To be honest I didn't think too much about it before I started. Definitly learned something for the future here. – NewEyes Jan 23 at 20:47
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    @BigMadAndy Then that's totally specific to your location and the companies that gave you offers. I've started jobs and didn't sign anything until the 1st day I show up. So, if Jan 1 is a holiday and they give me a start date of Jan 2, I show up and start signing paperwork. I don't think I've ever come in beforehand to sign paperwork. – SiXandSeven8ths Jan 23 at 21:16
  • @SiXandSeven8ths It certainly is location-dependent but there are many other possibilities: Getting a work contract beforehand through the mail and returning it the same way, getting a legally-binding offer mentioning your start date through the mail and signing the actual contract some days after starting work when it was convenient, on-boarding several days after the beginning of the contract when HR came back from holiday, etc. Personally, what I have never had is a job when signing the contract, starting to work and the rest of the HR on-boarding process all happened on the same day. – Relaxed Jan 23 at 21:35

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