I am working in German company and my job contract states following:

Der Arbeitnehmer erhält für die unter vorstehend Ziff. II. näher bezeichnete Tätigkeit ein Bruttogehalt in Höhe von X Euro bei 21 Arbeitstagen,.....

The employee receives a gross [monthly] salary of X euros for 21 working days for the activity described in more detail under II

and for the holidays it mentions:

Der Arbeitnehmer erhält pro Kalendarjahr Anspruch auf 24 Arbeitstage Urlaub bein einer 5 Tage Woche.

The employee is entitled to 24 working days of vacation per calendar year with a 5-day week.

I have been working for past 1 year for the whole calendar month, regardless of number of working days. I just noticed that in February, 2022 I was paid only for 20 days as there were only 20 working days. But in March, 2022 we have 23 working days but I am only being paid for 21 days. This has been happening for past year or so.

Am I entitled for a compensation for the extra hours I put in. I am not sure, but sometimes I feel like my boss exploits my situation as I do not understand German law the way he does.

Could someone who has an understanding on this topic enlighten me?

Edit 1: Added scanned version of page discussing about salary and bonuses. enter image description here

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    Are you able to translate your quotes as all (,most) posts are expected to be in English
    – user35069
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 12:22
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    @Rick "Are you able to translate your quotes" That seems pointless. A person who does not speak German is unlikely to be knowledgeable of German labor law, the latter being crucial for assessing the parties' position. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 12:37
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    @IñakiViggers Hmm, that assumes that only native speakers are eligible to offer an answer. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I will make the assumption that many of the users who provide excellent answers for the non-English speaking jurisdiction tags are not fluent in that jurisdiction's language.
    – user35069
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 13:12
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    @Rick "that assumes that only native speakers are eligible to offer an answer." Not at all. My point is that proficiency in a language usually is a prerequisite for understanding the subtleties of legislation and court decisions enacted/released in that language. Proficiency does not depend on being a native speaker of that language. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 13:20
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    @IñakiViggers I've asked a Meta question to avoid cluttering up this post any more than needs be.
    – user35069
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


Can you just clarify what "working the whole calendar month" means: Monday to Friday, or also Saturday / Sunday? Did you take your 24 days holidays? Usually you can carry only a few days holidays over to the next year, and whatever is carried over is lost end of March. Plus there are quite a few public holidays where you shouldn't be working. (I think 10 or 11 days, but you lose the day if it is on a weekend).

Normally you would get paid monthly. A month has 20 to 23 working days, minus whatever public holidays there are (they are paid). The normal thing is that people get paid the same amount every month. Plus you get paid on the holidays that you are taking. So you should be working 52 weeks times 5 days = 260 days, minus on average 8 day public holidays (for example its fewer if Christmas is on Saturday / Sunday and you don't get extra days, and its more if Christmas is on working days), minus 24 days holidays = about 228 days.

It would be unusual to get paid more in a month with 22 or 23 working days, but it would also be very unusual to be paid less in a 20 day month.

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    By whole calendar month I meant all working days of the company. Our working days are Monday - Friday, plus I still have 3 holidays left. Atleast in February and March there are no government holidays on workdays (Monday - Friday), which means either I'd be paid for 21 days in February or 23 days in March. Did I answer your question? Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 14:10
  • Thanks. The normal way is that as an employee you are paid a monthly salary, which is the same every month, independent on how many days are worked in that month. As a contractor, you may send in a bill every month which lists either hours or days worked, but not as an employee
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 8:26
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    Only partially relevant to OPs question, but in German law, leftover holidays are not 'lost' at the end of March. Employers are legally required to pay out any holidays not taken. In practice most employers have no interest in doing so and hence require their employees to actually take the remaining holidays before they would expire.
    – quarague
    Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 9:10

Am I entitled for a compensation for the extra hours I put in.

Apparently you are.

The first excerpt is in terms of 21 days rather than monthly compensation. Your transcription does not reflect that the clause has any qualifiers or constraints that address the foreseeable variation of work days in a month. This is in contrast with the second excerpt, which is in terms of calendar year. Accordingly, the compensation for each day you work (or take the paid time-off to which you are entitled) is X/21 €.

That being said, you need to ascertain whether other terms in the contract supersede the presumption enacted in section §612(1) of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch.

The employer's possible allegation that the extra hours are not part of your written contract will be unavailing. That is because section §611a prescribes that all the surrounding circumstances are to be considered for ascertaining whether the matter, in this case the extra hours you worked, amounts to an employment contract.

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    The use of the word Gehalt shows that this is a monthly compensation and not based on the actual time worked. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 6:56
  • @MarkJohnson "not based on the actual time worked." The employer's mention of 21 days introduced an ambiguity. That ambiguity may strike the presumption that the term Gehalt in the OP's contract refers to something besides Zahlungszeitpunkt, i.e.,the schedule of salary payments. This article explains that also the amount paid as Gehalt can vary ("Es gibt auch Gehaltsempfänger, deren Entgelt variiert. [...] Der Status des Gehalts wird durch die flexibeln Zusatzszahlungen nicht angetastet."). Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 12:14
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    As your quote states the Gehalt remains the same, independent of extra payments that may vary. The 20% extra for night duty, will only be paid for the time you actualy have night duty. So the final sum (on top of the Gehalt) may vary. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 12:57
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    (-1) The two sentences togeather state: monthly payment (Gehalt) of sum X, based on a 5 day week (21 working days) and 24 working days of vacation based on the 5 day week. Nothing is stated in the 2 sentences about a reduction or increase of the monthly payment where there is more or less than 21 working days in a specific month. This is a standard contract. I see no grounds for compensation that this answer claims exists. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 19:36
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    @MarkJohnson "The two sentences togeather state:" You are trying to rewrite the 1st clause. Nowhere does the actual clause say "5 day week". Only the 2nd clause does. I would agree with you only if the 1st clause made no mention of "21 working days", since that would leave no room for discrepancies between 5-day weeks and the variable number of work days in a month. If "21 work days" and "5 day week" were synonymous, there would be no need for the employer to employ the latter term in the 2nd clause. Courts supposedly reject interpretations that render the terms of a contract redundant. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 20:28

You are receiveing a monthly salary (Gehalt) (as apposed to a hourly wage (Lohn)), based on a 5 day work week with a yearly average of 21 days per month

  • 21.6666=((52*5)/12)

This sum doesn't take national holidays into account.

The average amount is based on the 9 holidays common in all states (most actually have more than 9).

The exact formel for the average amount of working days per month is:

  • days=(((days_of_year-(days_free_per_week*52))-holidays_per_year)/months_per_year)
    • 21=(((365-(2*52))-9)/12)

Source: Arbeitstage pro Monat errechnen - Arbeitsrecht 2022

You will be paid the monthly sum even if you only work 20 days (due to holidays etc. within one month) or 22 days.

If you had a contract based on Lohn, you would only be paid for each actual hour you worked.

The word Entgelt is now often used instead of Gehalt and Lohn, but the distinction between hourly, monthly still exists.

  • Stundenlohn: Wird im Arbeitsvertrag festgelegt, dass jede tatsächlich geleistete Arbeitsstunde entgolten wird, kann das Gehalt am Monatsende entsprechend der gearbeiteten Stunden variieren.
  • Monatsgehalt: Das klassische Gehalt wird monatlich ausgezahlt, ohne dass es darauf ankommt, wie viele Sonn- oder Feiertage in einem Monat anfallen, oder wie lang dieser ist.
  • Hourly wage: If the employment contract stipulates that every hour actually worked is remunerated, the salary at the end of the month can vary according to the hours worked.
  • Monthly salary: The classic salary is paid monthly, regardless of how many Sundays or public holidays occur in a month or how long it is.

The agreed monthy sum of the contract should always be listed, every month, as one position in the monthly pay slip

  • shown in the image below as: Gehalt: 3.151,00

The other positions could vary, month to month, resulting in a different final monthly sum (Steuerpfl. Bruttolohn)

  • but Gehalt should always be the same every month

Any fluctuation you may have should be from the other positions in the pay slip.

  • Thank you Mark. Your comment makes a lot of sense, as my contract talks about Bruttogehalt rather than Stundenlohn with 40 working hours per week. But I think it still entitles me X amount for the February, regardless of how many working days there were? Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 9:44
  • @RishikMani From the text you have quoted, with the word gehalt you should recieve the same amount every month unless the contract explicidly states otherwise. Maybe you should add the rest of the sentence/paragraph, since from what can be seen it does not state that and therefore there should be no reduction for February. A contract can override the default rules (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch - §611a), but must be clearly stated. What is not stated in a contract, then the general rules definded elsewhere apply. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 11:19
  • "You are receiveing [...] based on a 5 day work week". For that to be true, the first clause would have to be in terms of "5-day work week" just like the Urlaub clause. Instead, the first clause is in terms of 21 days, and there is no indication in the OP's description that it shall be interpreted as the "average" of 21 days per month. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 12:23
  • @RishikMani For clarification: when do you recieve payment? A Gehalt must be paid by that last working day of the month. Lohn by the 15th of the next month, since time is needed to calculate the amount of hours to be paid. Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 13:01
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    @IñakiViggers What is not defined in a contract, then the default value is taken. The formel for the average 5 day week is: 21=((365-(2*52)-9)/12). Arbeitstage pro Monat errechnen - Arbeitsrecht 2022 Commented Mar 25, 2022 at 15:26

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