I am currently in hiring process of a start-up company as full time employee that is willing to roll out an lucrative offer, actually they have already sent out a rough draft of work contract.

My Wish

Though the contract seems okay, some clauses related to work life balance aren't up to my satisfaction and I would like to get them changed such as below:

Issue 1: below average number of vacation days for Germany (25, while 30 is the absolute norm here)

  1. One week more vacation as per industry norm in Germany.

Issue 2: Weekend work can be imposed national law permitting

  1. Not being forced to work on weekends the contract currently has clause

as at this moment in my career it's important for me to have a good work life balance.

Possible Repercussions?

  1. If 25 vacation days is company standard and they somehow make an exception for me, wouldn't it cause rift among teamworkers in the future when I take those vacations?

  2. If I ask for full quota of 30 vacation days and decline working on weekend in any case, would it cause them retracting the offer?

Though startups are very unpredictable on many grounds, the normal apprehension about start-up leading to disruptions of normal life seems to be strongly hinted at by the first standard draft sent to me.


After a careful consideration I have decided to move on, they tried to woo me with a promise of giving me a hike after my probation period, but as money isn't everything for me, I have turned the offer down, and also concluded that I wouldn't really waste my or the startup's time with job interviews in future.

  • the absolute minimum is 24 days considering a 6 day work week. This equates to 4 normal weeks of vacation. Enterprises who don't consider the 6 days base often seem to give less vacation days. BUrlG §3 is the base for this 6 day work week thinking. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 11:07

2 Answers 2


You should ask for the vacation days and protection of your weekends. The worst that can reasonably happen is they will say "no" to your request.

Have a discussion with the hiring manager or recruiter in person or over the phone to discuss the offer and share your desire for additional vacation and weekend protection. Before the conversation, know what your priority improvement is for the offer (more vacation or no weekend work) and whether or not you're willing to walk away without a change. Be honest about your concerns and feelings about the offer and never bluff or lie about alternatives.

So long as you're not cavalier or brag about extra vacation, your team members are likely to not notice and even less likely to care.

Good luck in the negotiation. I hope you enjoy the new role.

  • Be prepared to get one and not the other and decide what you find acceptable - more vacation is easy, for a startup telling anyone they don’t have to work weekends is harder because of the pretty reasonable likelihood of really tight deadlines or problems and limited people to handle them. I wouldn’t hire anyone at my startup with the “no weekends” clause; it’s fine to ask but decide if “no” is a dealbreaker.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 20:57
  • 5
    Well to be honest then I wouldn't really prefer your startup either. :)
    – Anirudh
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 22:02
  • 1
    @Anirudh Long hours is a large part of startup culture in general, because when you have fewer people and higher stakes, the only solution is usually to work more hours to get things done. If that's a problem for you, then you may want to avoid startups in general.
    – David K
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 17:05

Contrary to the other answer, I do think asking to not work weekends may have a negative impact on your overall impression.

Firstly, I totally understand your rationale and where you are coming from.

However, if I was interviewing for my startup, and a candidate had a query about working weekends, I would potentially look elsewhere. It will depend on what the market looks like of course.

The reason I say this, is the startup scene is often hectic, with employees often asked to work very hard during crunch-time. The success of a startup is often down to the effort put in my the workers. The renumeration is often tethered to this.

If work-life balance was very important to you, I would honestly consider not interviewing at a startup.

Having said all this, if this is make-or-break for you, you should ask for the clause to be removed. You never know what they may be able to accept.

If you would simply prefer not to work weekends, you can ask them how often they expect this to occur. Keep in mind that this could very well change.

  • 1
    Yes...thats what I am planning to do. MOVING-ON. Startups aren't my thing anymore. :)
    – Anirudh
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 7:58

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