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4.2 Deutsche Arbeitskultur

The work-life balance in Germany

It was not until 1974 that the old Federal Republic introduced the statutory minimum holiday of 18 working days which has now risen to a minimum of 24 days. Today most collective wage agreements provide for holidays of six weeks or more and most employers give holiday pay.

The issues around finding the balance between family life, private life and work are gaining increased attention in political and business circles in Europe and Germany.

A key issue for many workers is flexible working time in order to have a work-life balance. Negotiating a work/life balance can help enable parents (both men and women) to reconcile their work with their family lives and women in particular to participate in the labor market. Finding the right work-life balance can allow workers to take leave from work so that they can participate in education or training or take up an interest, hobby or leisure pursuit. This may mean that employees can reorganize their working lives and hours around shorter days, weeks, months or years.

German families tend to be small with only one or two children. The men are still quite often considered to be the head of the household, even though both the wife and husband work.

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