The Myth of German Efficiency

If someone were to ask you to name the nationality you thought was the most efficient in the world, you’d probably put the Germans pretty high on your list, right?

Well, you would be wrong, so very WRONG. The reason you might think that is because you’ve never actually lived or worked here. I, too, once held Germany up as a beacon of all that is organised, systematic, logical and good. Ha! What a fool I was!

Listing the failings of state institutions such as the Bürgerämter would require a novel, not a blog post, so I’ll put them to one side. (Frankly, how any of these harridans and jobsworths are even in employment is beyond me.)

The funny thing about the Germans – yeah, another one – is that they actually think they’re hard-working. (Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor and wipe my eyes.) You see, the EU-standard 4-week holiday is not good enough for our German friends. No, most German workers get 6 weeks, some even more than that. I know one woman, who’s on an old contract with one of the major banks here, who gets a whopping 34 holiday days a year.

Maybe that doesn’t sound so excessive (except to any Americans or Canadians reading), but when you factor in that she’d already taken at least two weeks’ sick leave in the first half of the year and will probably take two more before the end of the year, that’s almost eleven weeks off work – or, if you look at it another way, she’s not in the office one fifth of the time.

One thing Germans are truly excellent at is taking sick leave. They’re so well protected, and the health insurance here is so good, that a trip to the doctor for something vague like a bad night’s sleep and a bit of stress will probably result in a week or two off.

There’s even a programme called “Die Kur” (the cure) where, if your doctor has exhausted every possible avenue of treatment for your imaginary illness, you can apply for “resort therapy”. And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like – an all-expenses-paid trip to a spa for an indefinite amount of time which, of course, doesn’t come out of your annual leave. That just wouldn’t be Germany…

In the unfortunate event that you’re not actually sick and lack the imagination to make something up, fear not! This is where “Kind Krank” comes into play. Kind Krank can be directly translated as “kid sick” and, from what I’ve seen, entitles the parent to as much time off as they like.

A typical email exchange might go a bit like this:

Me: Something incredibly efficient and professional.

German 1: Out of office reply.

Me: (Waits 2 – 4 weeks)

German 1: Oh, sorry for the delay, I was on holidays! But I don’t actually deal with that. That’s German 2 who sits beside me. 

Me: Oh, right. Can I have German 2’s email address? 

German 1: Sure, but she’s off work at the moment. Kind Krank, you know?

Me: Right. 

Me: (Emails German 2. Waits 2-4 weeks.) 

German 2: Oh, sorry for the delay! My kid was sick. But it’s not actually me who deals with that. That’s German 3.

Me: (Emails German 3.)

German 3: Out of office reply. 

Me: (Waits 2 – 4 weeks.)

Anyway, you see where I’m going with this.

The nice thing about being a German in full-time employment is that you pretty much have to murder a colleague to be fired. The laws here are so strongly in the workers’ favour that it’s virtually impossible to get rid of someone.

I have actually heard of people who’ve done zilch for years. Instead of sacking them – far too much trouble – the company will leave that useless lump sitting there filing their nails and hire someone else to do exactly the same job. I doubt it’s a couple of isolated cases either. This basically means that all over Germany, you’ve got thousands (if not millions) of people who are essentially being paid to do nothing.

I recently had a lesson where I got the students to talk about what they do on an average day.

Me: So, Gudrun, what did you do today? 

Gudrun: Well, I checked my emails, forwarded some to other people, collected the mail, distributed it, and set up the conference room for a meeting. Then it was time to go to English. 

Me: Our lesson is at 4.15…

Gudrun: (Chuckling contentedly) Oh my, you’re right! It doesn’t really sound like I did much, does it? 

Me: I could have done that before the kettle boiled for my first cup of tea of the day. Then done the work of everyone in your entire department and possibly the department next door and still have been finished by lunchtime. 

OK, so I didn’t say it out loud – unfortunately, I can be fired.

Even when Germans think they’re being organised, what they’re really doing is over-complicating everything in a sea of graphs, charts, spreadsheets, and documents that often run to several hundred pages. Information that could be delivered in three sentences takes months of meetings, labyrinths of red tape, and possibly a mental breakdown or two. Thank God for “Die Kur”…

Anyway, enough ranting for one evening. Tomorrow and Wednesday, I’ll get up at 6am for the students who probably won’t show up due to holidays, Krankheit, Kind Krank, or the myriad other reasons Germans find not to work. After that, I’m on holidays for a week. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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98 thoughts on “The Myth of German Efficiency”

  1. I’m one of the lucky Americans with 8 holidays and 21 days of vacation per year – almost 6 weeks! That being said, the 8 days is pretty built in to every job, and the 21 really isn’t enough to fly home for the requisite holidays. Germans really do have it made, don’t they 🙂 Vacations, paid leave, “sick” time….I should become German.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I think you’re secretly German anyway. Irish be damned (except the whisky part)! I do have it pretty good, but it’s definitely not German…I can make spreadsheets up the wazoo and go on vacation! Maybe I should move to Germany!

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  2. So, things got THIS bad lately? Where have all the decent, hard working, tax paying, children raising, on the edge of burn-out-struggling, without schwarz arbeitender Zugehfrau fellow Germans gone? Abroad, like me and my husband? Or did those preferring to lay back themselves in soziale Hängematte move all to Berlin recently?

    Your are describing people betraying their colleagues, their companies, their fellow Germans. They take advantage of a social system generations have been working for hard – and still are.

    Decent fellow Germans may be a dying species, but they do exist. Believe me. I know many. And I met those guys you describe to the point as well. Too many of them. Needless to stress where I think they should be banned to for a while to may be able to worship better what they spurn: Northeast China. Or worse.

    Great to read your blog, Linda! Keep on touching our sour spots! And if you’re done, come join me in China: They have their Maultaschen, too – wonderful dumplings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I know a fair few decent Germans as well 🙂 To be fair, it’s mainly the big organisations. People seem to be able to hide the fact that they’re essentially doing nothing for years! The people I know in SMEs and start-ups work their asses off! Thanks for the comment 🙂 I probably won’t consider China just yet though 😉

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  3. Haha, yes, sounds all amazing. And while it was fun to read and not untrue, it’s a rather different reality if you aren’t a civil servant. I’m working now for nearly 40 years without having had a single day of ‘Bildungsurlaub’ (a rather frowned upon concept in most companies). I started with 10 days holidays and only now get 30. Stacking up is not allowed, neither is spontaneously taking more than 1 day. Your holiday has to be planned at the beginning of the year pending on agreement of your boss. And of course if the company requires your work at the planned time it’s bye bye to your holidays. If you have > 20 sick leave days in a year you’ll get a nice chat with your boss and HR manager. If you look like getting a chronicle illness you’ll have a good chance of getting fired. Maternity leave amounted to 8 weeks after giving birth. As possibilities for child care were rare that meant you’d either have a nice grandma or stop working. Even nowadays child care for toddlers isn’t easy to get in some areas. And a place in a kindergarden for the 3 years and older children is guaranteed only since recent years. Of course these kindergardens close during summer for at least 3 weeks, so half of your holiday is already spoken for 😉

    So while in theory it’s all bombastic in reality people are taking holidays instead of sick leave to not get fired or don’t even go to a doctor. (You’re not insured if you get a sick leave note from the doc meaning you can get fired and sued if you appear at your work place during that time)

    Rehabilitation which has replaced the “Kur” has to be agreed upon by a doctor and the health service. As hospital treatments gets ever shorter it’s nowadays more like medical treatment than anything else. Getting a “Kur” for a follow-up treatment the next year is nigh on impossible (having a cancer patient in the family gives a nice insight into the finer details of health care).

    Summed up: while I’m completely with you on the myth of German efficiency the entitlement you described can only be lived in very few working areas (or by the even fewer social leeches who are often held up as arguments for further cuts on the social systems everywhere in the western industries.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the comprehensive comment! I don’t have kids myself so I don’t really know the ins and outs of child care here. Only that the Kita across the road wakes me up most mornings 😉 You paint a much grimmer picture than I had envisioned. I guess it’s not all rosy all the time. For hard-working people anyway.

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  4. Oh my gosh this is so true! My husband and I just finished up a two year stint working at a big chemical business there and doing every single one of these things to happen. Sometimes it was comical, sometimes frustrating, other times infuriating. But….I would still do it all again in a heartbeat! Now we need to adjust to only 4 weeks of holiday instead of 6 😦

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  5. Linda, you’re killing me! Sadly, hilariously true. My advice, put on a suit, wear high-heeled shoes, whip out your handbag, and start clicking your fingers at everyone while they run around making you a cup of tea!

    It works for me….!

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  6. yea I’ve definitely seen some people abuse the sick leave here a bit! Like someone who had a bad night’s sleep and called in sick, another who was hungover after being at a wedding the day before. And I’ve heard of women who get pregnant and decide they don’t feel like working anymore and get written off sick for nine months.

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  7. I love this post! I’ve been living in Germany for more than 5 years and I’m still surprised by the myth and how wrong it is. Besides, I’m Spanish so everyone assumes I’m lazy, my country is worst that Germany… and I get so angry because the reality is completely different! And don’t get me started on how trains (don’t) work…

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      1. I get 31 or 32 days, but that includes weekend days (it’s a weird system), so basically four and a half weeks. Plus the national holidays, which includes a full week in Jan between New Year and Orthodox Christmas.

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      2. Also, it’s transferable, so right now I have about two months of vaca time that I could use before Feb 20, 2017. But of that I am only taking (so far) one week in Oct to go to Cyprus.

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  8. The German lifestyle may not be sustainable but neither is the mess we have in the US, which has led to Trumpism. Here you are lucky if you have paid family leave. Time to take care of sick children comes out of YOUR sick leave. And of course, there is no guarantee of vacation time, though 2 weeks is standard. And yet we still have plenty of inefficient workers, some of whom are deliberately inefficient because they feel cheated. I doubt there has ever been a system where *everyone* was highly productive.

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    1. Yeah, true dat. The Germans have it so good in so many respects – and of course, I am all for workers’ rights. My only problem is people who take advantage of an already very generous system. But I guess you have people like that in every country! Trumpism… shudder.

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      1. I would prefer a system that leans toward making sure the workers have quality of life than one that is set up solely to enrich a few. But there has to be sustainability, and people who take advantage of a good system spoil it for everyone.

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      2. I have to piggy-back on this part of the discussion because linnetmoss has expressed so well what I was thinking while reading your post (yes, I can think and read at the same time!). It’s the people who take advantage of the “perks” that make it hard for everyone else. I understand how in the US employees may feel cheated and so be deliberately inefficient, but all that does is put more work on the employees who are efficient. And it doesn’t resolve the issues of inadequate family leave and the like. Yet, it sounds like Germany is at the other end of the spectrum, which is not sustainable either. Personally, I’d rather have Germany’s employment perks (well, of course I would), but I’d always be on call for you, Linda 😉

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        1. Aw, thanks 🙂
          Yeah, I’m living here but without any of the perks of living here! It sucks to be a freelancer sometimes 😉 I could be learning yoga or interpretive dance right now… sigh. 😉

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  9. Ummm, I can tell you that this is a huge hit to productivity and that determines GDP growth which inevitably ends up determining quality of life. If a country had shares, I’d go short on Germany – i.e. I would be a rich man when their economy started down and all their efforts couldn’t make it come back to today’s standards. There is a big lag between reduction of productivity and failure – generally a generation or so. Think about it – in a global economy, the business goes to the country/company that can produce the desired quality goods at the lowest price. Every single benefit the Germans get adds cost to their products and services. That reduces their competitiveness globally and the value of their products. As sure as I am sitting here, I can tell you that their life style of entitlement is not sustainable and, in fact,what they are dong is stealing from the futures of their children.

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    1. “That reduces their competitiveness globally …”
      And because it is that way, Germany is export world champion!?
      Germany has lost many work places in industry to Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, … and Latvia. But the headquarters are still in Germany. Unlike the UK who lost almost lost their industry; unlike the USA, home of the real capitalism.
      But one thing is true: the German pension scheme steals from the futures of their children

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      1. The reason Germany is so export active is because their engineering is amongst the best in the world. There are industrial products that are only being produced in Germany – which means they can set the price that supports their life style and if anyone wants the product there is no competition. I am here to tell you that is changing as Asian and other low cost countries get better and more sophisticated in their reverse engineering and production abilities.There are products coming out of those markets that are competing in industries that were untouchable even 10 years ago. It is turning a bind eye to the inevitable when the argument is broached that because no one else can do what you do, then you will be forever rich. I’ve been on the ground in Chinese and Asian markets assessing their business practices and they are well on their way to the top. They have skipped over so much of the learning curve the First World countries followed. For instance, they never had a country wide hard wired phone system and now they are installing cell towers so that even tiny villages have communication and broad band data links to the rest of the world/ Think about that and the implications – with a very few smart people they can now access the cheapest and most dedicated labor force and markets in the world. These countries are making changes that would blow you away with the speed and angle of the learning curve. We interviewed the Executive of Shanghai Electric – the single supplier of electricity to Shanghai Steel – the largest steel manufacturing facility in the world. They needed a 100% guaranteed supply of electricity so they went to Western Electric in the US and offered a partnership deal that, with the blessing of the Chinese government, was the very first to allow repatriation of profits – profits were never allowed to leave China before that. In return Western provided Harvard educated, seasoned executives who were of Chinese descent and spoke Mandarin. they whipped that generating faculty into shape in a matter of months – rewarding productivity and establishing a meritocracy. Before that jobs went to family members of employees and no knew ideas were ever implemented.

        That apparent side bar was for purposes of making the point that the world is changing and changing fast and anyone who lives a life of entitlement is about to get a serious shock.

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        1. I can’t leave you guys alone for an hour or so and you’re all arguing with each other 🙂 Paul and Linnet, you make some excellent points. I fear they’re falling on deaf ears with our friend Josch there… 😉

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          1. Ha! It appears so Linda. Josch does admit that the pension scheme is funded forward and my experience is that if that is so, then other poor assumptions are being made in the economy – pension shortfalls are generally the canary in the mine. When it drops dead it is time to get the heck out of the mine because your not far behind.

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  10. I couldn’t agree more. And you didn’t even mention the “Bildungsurlaub”! By law (full time) employees are entitled to 10 (paid) days off every two years (on top of the annual leave!) to take officially recognized courses. There is a whole industry offering these courses including this beauty:

    Erfolg durch Ausstrahlung – Bewegung und Tanz-Improvisation
    Kategorie: Kunst, Künstlerische Techniken
    (loosely translated: Success through charisma – Motion and dance improvisation)

    I kid you not! The caveat is that the courses are somehow job related. But if you can convince your boss you’d be even more successful if only you could polish your dance and motion improvisation skills then off you are in no time. Too bad the employee has to pay for the course…I’m sure they’re working on that one though!

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    1. THAT has made my morning 🙂 While I thought the original post was bad enough, the comments are enough to make me weep! I would LOVE to hear from someone who has done a course like this and how it has helped further their career! Maybe I should try to convince my school that I’d be a better teacher through the art of interpretive dance or something. Seems nothing is too ridiculous here… 😉

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      1. My company funded a touch typing course for me but I had to do it in my free time. Courses that are specifically aimed at translators count as work time though (and overtime if they’re at weekends, so if I’m at a course on a Saturday I can take an extra day off to make up for missing a day of weekend).

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    2. The “Bildungsurlaub” is another remarkable German invention. Unlike advanced vocational training (employer pays your salary plus tuition), the employer pays only the salary but you pay for the lessons. Education in “Bewegung und Tanz-Improvisation” is only legitimated if you work in an artistic, maybe medical- social field. So what?

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      1. Sorry to chime in here again with a rather lengthy rant!
        Bildungsurlaub is anything but a German invention. By signing on to Convention C 140 Paid Educational Leave Convention of the International Labour Organization in 1974 the Federal Republic of Germany was obliged by international law to implement it. Only, in Germany, education is governed by each individual state (Bildungshoheit). So each state has their own Bildungsurlaubsgesetz. Or not. Bavaria and Saxony never implemented it.

        Article 2 of C 140 defines the purpose:
        “Each Member shall formulate and apply a policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice and by stages as necessary, the granting of paid educational leave for the purpose of–
        (a) training at any level;
        (b) general, social and civic education;
        (c) trade union education”

        And Article 3 goes on to define the policy:
        “That policy shall be designed to contribute, on differing terms as necessary–
        (a) to the acquisition, improvement and adaptation of occupational and functional skills, and the promotion of employment and job security in conditions of scientific and technological development and economic and structural change;
        (b) to the competent and active participation of workers and their representatives in the life of the undertaking and of the community;
        (c) to the human, social and cultural advancement of workers; and
        (d) generally, to the promotion of appropriate continuing education and training, helping workers to adjust to contemporary requirements.”

        So far so good. The problem with Bildungsurlaub is that it has spawned a whole industry for the spongers who feel entitled! For example: “Sich Gutes tun – Hatha-Yoga Bildungsurlaub
        Dieser Kurs führt Sie langsam an wirkungsvolle Atemübungen, ruhige, fließende und dynamische Bewegungen aus dem Hatha-Yoga heran.” (Do yourself some good – This course gently introduces you to effective breathing techniques, and calm flowing and dynamic motion) Yeah, sure, that’ll help promote job security in conditions of scientific and technological development and economic and structural change! This course was offered July 18 – July 22 at a cost of 390€ plus 24€ per night for the room. Full board was included.
        Truth be told, not a lot of workers know about Bildungsurlaub. The ones who do are generally well educated, middle-class white collar workers with fairly well paid full time jobs. Not really what the spirit of C 140 had in mind if you ask me.

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        1. Really? It’s an international thing!
          But why do you invoke this like a typical German attitude?
          P.S.: Not only the unionized works know Bildungsurlaub. But in most little an d medium- sized companies its not “appropriate” to take him. I was in an international German company and Bildungsurlaub was appreciated.

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  11. You don’t unmask German efficiency as a myth, you approve it! 😀
    Efficiency means not how long you work, but with witch productivity (total output per time unit) you act. The most prosperous states in Germany are in the south, the states with the most public holidays (and Bavaria has the maximum, yippee!).
    Ok, the Deutsche Bahn and the Berlin airport disaster indicate the decrease of this good old efficiency, but at least in the country of the blind (EU) the one- eyed is the king. That’s good for the inefficients, because we (and some other middle and north European states) must(?) be the paymaster of Europe!
    And you will praise German bureaucracy if you witness the bureaucracy in south or east Europe.

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    1. I did live in eastern Europe. I don’t remember having any problems like this. People were rude, yes, but mostly efficient. Things like registering, banking, phone and internet contracts were a lot simpler. I can’t speak for the south.

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      1. Surely the notorious German bureaucracy isn’t the best way to counter your rant. 😉
        Latvia is East Europe only in geographical way and as a microstate they don’t need so many rules like more complex countries. And that Latvians are more efficient then the spoiled and pamperd Berliner: I adopt this immediately and unquestioningly.

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  12. Funny! And, for such an efficient country, we were always amazed that our phone service cut out as often as it worked, and that road construction in our neighborhood could not have been slower if they had hired a band of snails to do it (although, now, I realize that it was only slow because everyone was home Krank half the time!)

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    1. I’m still waiting on feedback for a job that I started in April. APRIL! Your road works example reminds me of the railroad workers. They seem to be being paid to stand and look at the tracks… 😉

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      1. Well actually in Canada it isn’t so bad. People will start with 2 weeks but then climb up to 3 weeks and even 4 weeks within 5-10 years. We also have 7 statutory holidays and always get them because if they fall on the weekends we either get the Monday or Friday off. We are in a somewhat better position than in the US…Though we had to adjust back to 4 weeks after having 7 weeks while in France…

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            1. l comment…
              for all i know the LEGAL vacation in germany is 20 days. and for the metall industry or chemie or so 30 days based on the agreements with the unions. my son is works here in bawü but his employer is in saxony. he has the mere 20 legal days and NO BILDUNGSurlaub.
              bawü has … together with the saarland … the most extra off-days. it is a landes thing, not federal law. the thursdays … ascention day and corpus christi in may / june … are a bother for production sites, as stopping machines is costly. so i think the monday/friday holiday bill of the anglosaxons would be a good thing to copy. i guess we have in bawü 15 days off on top, mostly christian issues …. but so do have at least government or armed forces in the states .. for other reasons. the nordics and lo and behold GB seem to go for gold medal here, see a comparison in wiki! well, i am retired … so i have 365 days of vacation. right?

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        1. Yeah, they don’t do that Friday or Monday thing anywhere in Europe with the exception of Ireland and the UK, to the best of my knowledge. You can imagine my horror when I first realised it wasn’t a given in other countries! 😉

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            1. Ha, yeah, I can see how that could compensate for a couple of days here and there! 🙂 Did I read that they’re trying to do away with the 35-hour work week? So bombarded with news these days, I can hardly remember what’s real or imagined! 😉

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              1. I think I have seen they are taking about it but it isn’t a done deal as far as I can figure it out sitting in Montreal. Very difficult to implement changes in France so I don’t know if it will come to pass. They have passed a new Labour Law recently relaxing some of the bureaucracy and constraints on employers but it doesn’t mean that it will be fully implemented.

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    1. hello from the southwest of the brd. i don’t know which companies you are talking of, but in general you do NOT continuously use all the benefits which might be available … it would sink your career faster than a submarine with a leak! 8 hr days are on paper, 10-12 hr days are common. including home desk work, which is nowhere accounted for. and by the way… the french have a 35 hr week and by midi on friday it is hard to find someone to help with a problem … it is the LOI. and there many jobs have an option to retire at 52 (i believe) with a chance to live from what you get. here early retirement pay … with exception of those whose can land ‘firmenrente’ … is not enough to pay rent, water, electricity, insurance etc. and still live. at least your age group here will have to work till 67. just in case there is enough work available for them … then. our beamtenstaat … bismarck is to blame … needs revision. we all not-beamtet ones know that. but then a lot of our politicians are ‘beamtet’ … and who’d kill the cow he’ s milking! i worked in the uk and in the states in my time… and life in business uk was (then) a lot smoother than in the same compamy in germany. though … i guess style has changed everywhere. last defence for my country… how come, when we are so insufficient, we ended up being the biggest portemonnaie for the EU?
      end of Verteidigung .. berlinda, i do enjoy your column or whatever it is called and can’t wait till you hit the (in)sufficient BaWü ex black forrest and lake constance of course! if in need of a swabian meal … you are invited!

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      1. Anybody who wants to cook me up a feed of Maultaschen is a friend of mine haha! If I’m ever down that way, I’ll take you up on that! Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you enjoy the blog 🙂 Linda.

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      1. Not out of date, the standard vacation for most Canadians is indeed 2 weeks (or 10 days as you accurately stated). Usually if you work at one company longer, you may end up a lucky one and maybe get 3 or 4 weeks if you are truly blessed. I reckon only top executives would make it to 6 weeks, but I am not even sure that is true. This is on top of closing at Christmas for 10 days no doubt? We only get Xmas and Boxing day as holidays.

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        1. Public holidays vary according to state and Berlin is pretty shit on that front. Though depending on how Xmas and New Year’s fall, they can stockpile their mass of holiday days or overtime and probably take a week or so. Some companies just shut down. Yeah, in Ireland, you normally start on 20 days and then if you stay with the company for years, you get a day or two added every now and then. 10 days really sucks 😦

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          1. Yes it does! Depending on what province you are in, there are an additional 10 public holidays. Though it really depends where you work as many people end up working on those days as well.

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        2. My company is closed over Christmas but we have to take the days from our holiday allowance. Enforced time off!! My boyfriend’s old company (research institute) just closed though and they got those days off on top of their 30 days.

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          1. Ha! Yeah, most of the companies I worked for in Ireland were like your company. You’d keep two or three days for the end of the year. Getting an extra week on top of your six weeks seems… I was going to say excessive, but I guess just German 😉

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        3. The butcher of my trust was three years in Canada to make German and other European sausages. The country was great, the people are lovely, but the labour conditions not acceptable for a Middle European worker. So he don’t renewing his labour contract.

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  13. They (or should I say “we”?) are genuinely baffled when told that Die Kur is an alien concept in other parts of the world. What, no bi-annual 4-6 weeks of lounging around in a Spa once you hit the ripe old age of 50 ON TOP of your 6 weeks annual leave?

    The whole Kur thing, being a veritable German institution, has spawned a rich branch of vocab. E.g. a “Kurschatten” is someone you’ve had a little fling with in between massages and relaxing and more massages.

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    1. Ha ha ha! While I’m not a fan of German “efficiency”, the language never fails to delight! That’s brilliant! And I doubt any other country in the world has this – maybe Austria or Switzerland? They may as well just give everyone early retirement from the age of around 25 😉

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      1. As far as I remember Austria does have Kurs. Switzerland I’m not sure about – you only get 16 weeks of maternity leave here (as opposed to an entire year of PAID time off in Germany plus and extra 2 that aren’t paid but where your employer has to keep your job open for you).

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        1. Before WW2, the Kur was a wellness amusement only for the prosperous people. In the 60s and 70s, the (pension) insurances also pay for the average earners; hundreds of dullsville xyz became “Bad xyz”. This became too costly and the Kur supersedes by “Reha” (Medizinische Rehabilitation; medical rehabilitation). Duration 3-4 weeks max. all four years, independent of age, with little “lounging around” but many medical applications.
          And it’s not a gift, as an employee you have paid for this in your insurances.

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    2. well…. your information on KUR is a bit OUT OF DATE. you will get a max of 3 weeks after say knee replacement or a new hip. reha(bilitation). once a year… and it can be stress pure. if the operation went wrong you can start nagging your insurance company for a second one. there is a difference between workforce and retired folks: the insurance wants workforce to get back to work quickly, so patients leave hospital directly to rehabilitation… of course there is quite an army of spongers. how some folks work the system i don’t grasp … the majority tries to get back to their desks as fast as they can for fear of job loss. so the golden days of KUR are history.

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  14. I think you only get a certain number of days for Kind krank – at least my colleague actually worked from home when her kid was ill once because she was afraid of using up all her kid sick leave too early in the year. You yourself being off sick is unlimited though – and if you’re ill when you’ve booked holiday you just have to get a doctor’s note then you can reschedule those holiday days to take when you’re not ill. Yep, so efficient. And don’t even get me started on the trains (or the post office)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The S-Bahn royally pissed me off last weekend too – that’s a whole other post! 😉
      I was trying to get in touch with one woman for three weeks. Her kid had bronchitis was the excuse. I think she was back for a week, then on holidays. It’s really insane.

      Like

      1. in defence of the Bahn…
        i think we are complaing in germany on a HIGH. level. germany has the most complex and dense train system in the world. not only do all north/south traverse passenger trains go through but also all the freight trains …. want to have a taste ? just stay a night at the Rheinufer say by Remagen (we did). gorgeous view, noise unbelievable.
        and then my grandson last night complained of a 20 min. delay in stuttgart hbf after … TGV ex Avignon, connect TGV in Lyon for Karlsruhe, then switching to the IC to Stuttgart! well … with a car that’s more than 20 min. delay in August! i used the train a lot on business .. it being often faster than flights and i had but few indecent delays in 10 years.

        Liked by 1 person

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