For many, summer is the time to make travel plans. However, these cannot always be implemented as desired. But what if employees have already been granted vacation days for the trip? Can you return them at short notice?

“No,” says Nathalie Oberthür, a specialist lawyer for labor law in Cologne. “Once an application for leave is approved, it is binding for both parties and can only be canceled by mutual agreement.” The employer is therefore not obliged to do so.

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This means that when in doubt, employees must consult their manager as to whether they can still postpone their vacation at short notice.

You can only hope for goodwill from your manager – of course it’s also important how the vacation goes with the other employees. Duty rosters are often designed in such a way that there is always sufficient staffing – a short-term change is not always possible.

In addition, employees cannot save up their holidays indefinitely. The Federal Holidays Act states that the holiday entitlement expires at the end of the year or at the latest on March 31 of the following year. However, the employer must inform employees when vacation days are about to expire.