UPDATE 2: As expected, after approximately a month he did not grant it to me -saying he'd fear others doing the same. In my opinion that hints at a whole lot of other problems, but oh well.

UPDATE 1: Today I confronted him once more -by simply staying after a meeting he arranged on a project I am working in. He said he needs advice by one more party (unfortunately I didn't ask whom he meant.) and he said he'd be able to provide me with an answer next week...

In Austria we have the glorious "Bildungskarenz" en/de ("educational leave"), which allows an employee to stop working for up to a year, while staying employed at his current employer (Requiring 6 months of continuous work in the same company, with a cooldown period of 4 years). In that period the employee receives full unemployment benefit by the government as long as he proves he is getting educated (by earning ECTS). The employer doesn't have to pay a cent, I have confirmed this! The only drawback for the employer is that he is not allowed to fire you after (maybe even during) that period. He can fire me at any time unless I go to court and prove he did fire me because of the Bildungskarenz. Both employee and employer need to sign an application for this, which essentially amounts to no more than a single signature for the employer.

I let my boss know I plan to leave the company and I'd stay up to the 30. September, which he agreed upon (I have so many vacation days, I will leave in mid August). Since we are on friendly terms I asked him to sign my Bildungskarenz, verbally promising I would leave the company afterwards by myself unless we both came to a different agreement in a year (He told me he'd like me to stay). I assured him it would be perfectly fine if he didn't give it to me, but he should tell me in a timely manner, so I could apply for a job instead of going back to university.

At first, he told me he'd let his secretary check the legal implications. After two weeks and my regular nagging, she finally told me she finished her research and I should ask my boss. I already asked him for an answer since last week, yet he tells me he'd decide later.

Now I believe he plans not to give me Bildungskarenz and is afraid to tell me so, fearing I'd slack off my last ~14 work days if I knew.

What should I do to quicken up this ridiculous game?
Call him and demand an answer now? (It's hard to catch him in person)
Demand an answer in an email?
Ask the second in command to ask the boss in my place?

We do not have an HR department.

  • 6
    You get unemployment benefits and get to keep your job to go to school -_- dang, I'm in the wrong country.
    – user37925
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 16:37
  • 3
    @Adel I think it's you work 6 months and then get 1 year off for school, and then have to wait 4 years before you get another year off.
    – cpast
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 17:44
  • 4
    If he's down to 14 days, assume the answer is going to be no. They know you want out, and they're not making much effort to retain you; that's all the answer you need or are likely to get. Your schedule is no longer their concern.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 20:04
  • 1
    @Adel I have been working there for 3 years. You need to work 6 months to gain the right to apply for Bildungskarenz. You can apply again after a cool off period of 4 years after the end of your last Bildungskarenz (if you worked for 6 months prior to applying again!)
    – ASA
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 21:31
  • 2
    You are asking for a lot of trust. He needs to put faith in the fact that you will stand by your verbal decision for 1 year and will continue to stand by it if you don't independently find a job at the end of that year. If this is a small company having an extra unplanned employee could be disasterous.
    – Myles
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


Ask him directly and be clear about what you need from him. Ideally you'd do this in a face-to-face meeting specifically planned for the purpose. That way you give your manager time to prepare and don't run the risk of having the discussion be derailed by other work matters. You mention that he's hard to get hold of but presumably you've had to plan a meeting with him before so simply be persistent. Lead with something like:

Hey [Manager], since September is getting closer I wanted to have a quick sit-down regarding my Bildungskarenz. Can we meet to discuss it sometime today?

Unless your manager has a history of not replying to e-mails he finds inconvenient, just ask via e-mail. Otherwise, resort to a phone call. Since he has an assistant you could ask her to put in an appointment for you but in many companies this can be very aggressive behaviour or is simply not done.

If he tries to avoid planning a meeting with you, reiterate that time is a factor as you're getting closer to your final day and it's important for you to get the paperwork in order. If you sense that he's hesitant because he wants to say no but you're fine with that being his final answer, say so. Obviously, don't say that if you don't actually mean it and will try to change his mind.

If your manager is still refusing to give a straight answer during the meeting, repeat the same points regarding the time sensitive nature of your request and that you're fine with the answer being no.

If after all that, he still seems to be dancing around the issue without giving a straight answer, call him out on it and try to get a sense of his timeline if he has one:

I appreciate that we're in uncharted territory but I really do need a yes or no answer about this to plan my next steps. If you're still unable to give me an answer now, can you tell me what needs to happen before you can?

  • The .pdf was not linked by me, but by someone who edited my post. In some parts it's either not current or inaccurate. As I said before, I know that I have no (legal) entitlement for anything and it would be a nice gesture by him. Asking his secretary to get me an appointment is perfectly fine (and I have done it before), but as he said he'd tell me his answer eventually, making a formal appointment is an extremely pushy move.
    – ASA
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 13:09
  • I guess I should make him aware of his answers importance to me.
    – ASA
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 13:10
  • @Traubenfuchs Yes, that's the gist of my answer. And thanks for mentioning that the link wasn't yours, I've removed that section and added an extra paragraph on what you could try if he still won't or can't give an answer.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 13:26

Reading your question, there are still a few unclear points which make it hard to give a good answer. In addition, I am not familiar with the specifics surrounding this "Educational Leave". From your question and the comments I infer that there are two risks for your boss:

  1. You will turn around after you year-out and demand a place in the company.
  2. Shady legality of you making a promise to quit once your educational leave is over.

My evaluation of this situation is: He seemed hesitant to begin with, the research by his secretary did not reveal a clear path, hence the decision has not really been made. I would not be expecting an answer as it seems like the classic, implied "sorry, no".

I have seen the stalling tactic many a times, both intentional and subconscious, and probably have used it myself too. In the end you have to decide how much this money is worth. Will you be pushy to get him to sign and "employ" you for the time, or let it go.

I'd personally would try to give more incentive to your boss to make this "present" to you. Sweeten the deal... maybe employing you afterwards IS something he is interested in? Let him know that you'd be in his dept. You'd even be available to provide minor input on certain things.

You are asking for a favor. How big of a favor it is, nobody here can judge better than you. Decide: How much is it worth to you? Will you risk the relationship with your current employer? ...and act accordingly.

  • You are right: I still have to offer him the opportunity to get me back afterwards clearly to increase my chances.
    – ASA
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 21:40

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