German politicians call for workers to get day off for public holidays that fall on weekends

In Germany when a public holiday falls on a weekend, the government does not allocate a day off in the week, unlike countries such as the UK and the US. Could this be about to change?

German politicians call for workers to get day off for public holidays that fall on weekends
A popular holiday spot in Germany at the coast in Boltenhagen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Photo: DPA

German politicians from various political parties are calling for public holidays that fall on a weekend to be offered to employees during the work week as a day off, in what they are calling a ‘corona bonus’.

According to a report in the Saarbrücker Zeitung on Monday, the debate started due to an unusually large number of public holidays which fall on a weekend in 2021, including Labour Day on May 1st, German Unity Day on October 3rd and the Christmas holidays.

This year both December 24th and 25th fall on the weekend.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What (and where) are Germany's public holidays in 2021?

“It would be a recognition and a simple corona bonus if the following Monday were then free for workers,” Social Democratic Parliamentary group vice chairman Dirk Wiese told the newspaper on Monday.

National leader of Left Party (die Linke), Jörg Schindler, also called for employers be obliged to offer compensation for employees the following week.

The ‘Working Hours Act’ should be amended accordingly, he said, meaning that the right to take back holidays which fall on the weekend would stretch beyond 2021. 

The labour market policy spokesperson for the Greens, Beate Müller-Gemmeke, stressed: “Holidays are days of rest for people.”

Therefore, the issue must now be debated “in a calm manner,” she said.

A previous push

The Left Party in the Bundestag had already made several attempts to introduce compensation regulations for public holidays which land over the weekend. 

In 2018, it pointed out in a motion that more than 85 countries had compensation regulations for public holidays that fell on a Sunday.

In addition to national holidays, each of Germany’s 16 states have their own holidays, with some states having several more days off per year than others.

Bavaria is the state with the most public holidays, or 13.

Late last year, The Local asked readers in Germany if public holidays which fall on weekends should be compensated the coming week. An overwhelming majority were in favour.

READ ALSO: Should Germany ensure workers get a day off for every public holiday?

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Explore Austria: Mauer, a charming wine-hiking spot on Vienna’s outskirts

Catch the very tail-end of the wine season and autumn foliage in one of the lesser-explored corners of the Austrian capital: Mauer.

Explore Austria: Mauer, a charming wine-hiking spot on Vienna’s outskirts
Beautiful views and cosy taverns await you on the edge of Vienna. Photo: Catherine Edwards

Wine-hiking is an autumn must-do in Austria, and although the official Wine Hiking Day (Weinwandertag) that usually draws crowds has been cancelled two years in a row during the pandemic, it’s possible to follow the routes through beautiful scenery and wine taverns on your own.

Mauer in the southwest of Vienna is one of the routes that is mostly frequented by locals.

The footpath takes you through scenic vineyards. Photo: Catherine Edwards

You can reach this part of the 23rd district using Vienna’s public transport, and you have a few options. From the Hietzing station on the U4 line, you can take the tramline 60 or bus 56A. The former will take you either to Mauer’s central square or you can get off earlier at Franz-Asenbauer-Gasse to start the hike. If it’s too early in the day for wine just yet, you could start your day at the small and charming Designo cafe (Geßlgasse 6).

Otherwise, the residential area itself doesn’t have much to see, but keep an eye out as you wander between the taverns later — there are some beautiful buildings.

To start the hike, head west along Franz-Asenbauer Gasse, which will take you up into the vineyards, growing some red wine and Vienna’s specialty Gemischter Satz or ‘field blend’, which as the name suggests is a mixture of different types of grapes.

Photo: Catherine Edwards

The paved road takes a left turn, but the hiking route follows a smaller path further upwards. Here you’ll have magnificent views over the whole of Vienna.

If you stick to the official hiking route (see a map from Weinwandern here) you can keep the whole route under 5 kilometres. But more adventurous types don’t need to feel limited.

You can also follow the Stadtwanderweg 6 route (see a map here) either in full, which will add on a hefty 13 kilometres, or just in part, and venture further into the Mauerwald. If you do this, one spot to aim for is the Schießstätte, a former hunting lodge offering hearty Austrian meals.


In any case, you should definitely take a small detour to see the Wotrubakirche, an example of brutalist architecture from the mid-1970s built on a site that was used as a barracks during the Second World War.

Not far from the church is the Pappelteich, a small pond that is not only an important habitat for local flora and fauna, but a popular picnic spot for hikers. Its only water supply is from the rain, and due to climate change the pond has almost dried out in recent years, prompting the city to take action to boost its water supply by adding a permanent pipe.

The church is made up of over 150 concrete blocks. Photo: Catherine Edwards

What you really come to Mauer for, though, are the Heuriger or Viennese wine taverns. 

The most well-known is Edlmoser (Maurer Lange Gasse 123) which has previously been named as the best in Vienna. Note that it’s not open all year so check the website, but in 2021 it should be open between November 5th and 21st, and is also serving the goose that is a popular feature on Viennese menus this time of year.

Tip for translating Heuriger opening times: look for the word ausg’steckt, which is used by those taverns which aren’t open year round. They will also often show that they’re open by attaching a bunch of green twigs to the sign or front door.

Buschenschank Grausenburger. Photo: Catherine Edwards

Also worth visiting are cosy Buschenschank Grausenburger (Maurer Lange Gasse 101a), Heuriger Wiltschko (Wittgensteinstrasse 143 — located near the start of the hiking route, this is a good place to begin your tour) and Heuriger Fuchs-Steinklammer (Jesuitensteig 28).