If you are employed you have the right to paid leave (also called vacation or holidays). The law, The Annual Leave Act (Semesterlagen), regulates the number of days of paid leave per year, whether days can be saved over to the next year, how much you should be paid during your leave, and compensation for leave days not taken. 

As of 2021, the number of days of paid leave corresponding to a year of full time work is 25. This is the legal minimum; the agreement between you and the employer may entitle you to more days. If you have been absent from work at some point during the year this may affect the number of paid leave days you are entitled to. Being absent from work due to sick leave, parental leave etc. may impact your vacation days if the leave period was long – you can ask the HR department or administrative staff at your university about this. 

Your agreement with your employer, in particular collective agreements negotiated by trade unions, may stipulate more vacation days than the minimum in the law and may include other benefits related to vacation. For example, it is common in collective agreements in the academic sector to have the right to take four weeks of continuous vacation during the summer months, or to have an increase in vacation days connected to your age. An agreement which stipulates fewer days than the law, or otherwise restricts your legal rights to paid leave, is invalid. 

The procedure for requesting vacation and the timeline for when this needs to be done each year may vary between departments, but in no situation can your supervisor, or anyone else in the institution,  forbid you from taking holidays that you have the right to. 

You may be able to transfer unused vacation days to the next year. You may also be entitled to compensation for vacation days you have not used at the end of the contract. 

If you are on holiday, you should not come in to work, for example to solve some tasks or fill in for somebody. If you are officially on holiday, you don’t have workplace insurance.  You should also not be expected to reply to work emails or other communication while on holidays (and generally outside of working hours), as these are work tasks. 

You can ask the HR department or administrative staff at your university about the number of days you can carry into the next year, the amount of compensation, or the amount of pay you receive during your paid leave. 

If you encounter any problems with taking vacation, you can ask for help from your student union, the ombudsperson for doctoral students, or your trade union. 

If you are financed through a scholarship, The Annual Leave Act does not apply to you. There may however be an individual agreement between you and the university or between you and the source of financing regulating your leave.