1 May, Ascension Day and Whitsun are public holidays in Germany. What happens when employees are on duty abroad on these days? Do they have to work there or are they entitled to continued payment of remuneration? And what happens if there is a public holiday abroad but not in Germany, the country of assignment? The continued payment of salary on public holidays in Germany is regulated in the Continuation of Remuneration Act (Entgeltfortzahlungsgesetz) (§ 2 EntgFG).
If employees are travelling abroad on a German public holiday on official business or are undergoing further training there, they must work on that day.
work on that day. German public holidays do not constitute a ban on work abroad and therefore do not lead to a loss of working hours.
However, if the public holiday is also a day off abroad – i.e. no work is done in the foreign company on that day either – employees are entitled to continued payment of remuneration by the employer. This entitlement arises from § 615 Satz 1, 3 BGB, according to which the employer bears the risk for the loss of work (operational risk).
If there is an entitlement to continued pay, it is usually calculated on the basis of the average pay received by the employee in the 13 weeks preceding the holiday.
If employees are going to work in another country, it is important to find out about the rules on continued pay in the destination country:
Some countries have public holiday regulations similar to those in Germany, while others do not provide for continued payment of remuneration on public holidays. An overview of worldwide public holidays is provided by Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI). There you will find a list of public holidays per country – together with information on the legal regulations: more at gtai.de.
Conversely, if employees from abroad are employed in Germany, the public holidays of their home country do not apply to them. On days that are public holidays only in their home country, they still have to work here. If they want to have these days off, they must take leave or be released from work in some other way.
Ennemoser, Birgit from Auren Germany