European sanctions for taking your children out of school for vacation

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As the cost of living crisis bites, a contentious trend has emerged: parents pulling their children out of school for vacation to take advantage of low season rates.

“There is definitely a trend of parents willing to risk the wrath of schools in order to get a better deal,” says Liz Mathews, general manager at Flight Centre UK.

After polling parents about the phenomenon, the travel agency discovered that 67% were considering taking their children out of school to secure a cheaper vacation.

In the United Kingdom, parents who take their children out of school can face fines ranging from £60 (€68) to £2,500 (£2,846). Nonetheless, 36% of parents polled said they would consider

How much are flights less expensive during non-school holidays?

Budgets for vacationers are already being strained by rising expenditures. Things become even more difficult over the summer. According to consumer advocacy group Which?, half-term airfare costs are up 42% from pre-pandemic levels.

The truth can be far more harsh in some situations. As of this writing, mid-October return tickets from London to Menorca start at just €50. The identical flights cost €242 a week later, when British schools are out for half term.
With this in mind, it is simple to understand why some parents might risk vacationing while their children are in school, especially given how hard the fuel crisis and inflation are hitting their budgets.

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Here are the punishments that parents may incur for pulling their kids out of school in several European nations.

But what are the consequences for taking your children out of school for vacation?

What Austrian laws govern the absence of children from school?

In Austria, attendance at school is required from age six to age fifteen.

Parents may be subject to fines ranging from €110 to €400 or up to two weeks in jail if the school reports an unapproved absence lasting more than three days in a row to the authorities. An administrative offense may be defined as more than three unexcused absences.

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Requests for absences can be made at the Ministry of Education with good justification. Children may be expelled from school and parents may receive biweekly visits from Austria’s Youth Welfare Services if a valid cause is not presented and they don’t respond to a request.

What are the rules in France for taking children out of school?

In France, children aged three to sixteen are required to attend school. According to the French government website, authorized absence can be granted for a variety of reasons, including a “child following their legal representatives (travel outside school holidays).”

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Parents who are unable to justify or lie about their child’s absence face a €135 fine. If your child’s education is jeopardized by your absences, you could face two years in prison and a fine of up to €30,000.

However, in practice, this is rarely enforced because it requires the ‘Education Nationale’ authorities to take the case to court.

What are the rules for taking children out of school for vacation in Hungary?

Schooling is compulsory in Hungary from the age of three to the age of sixteen.

There is some leeway for parents who withdraw their children from school. The school year is divided in half, and parents may excuse their child from school for up to five days without providing a reason.

They must, however, obtain permission from the school first, which will be granted based on the child’s behavior and performance.

What are the guidelines for removing children from school in Germany?

From the age of six to sixteen, education is required in Germany. If parents withdraw their children from school without the headteacher’s consent, they may be penalized. Repeat offenders can potentially be charged with a crime.

State-specific fines range from €35 per day in Bremen to a maximum of €2,500 in Berlin.

German police are known to actively search airports for families traveling during the school year without permission. They also consult with the schools to see whether absences are authorized.

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A parent’s request for an exemption from their child’s school may be approved or denied depending on the circumstances. The headteacher choose how lenient to be.

What Dutch laws govern the absence of children from school?

From the age of five to sixteen, attendance at school is required in the Netherlands.

Fines for school absences range from €100 per day to €600 per family for one week and €900 for two weeks.

What laws govern the absence of children from school in Italy?

Schooling is required from the age of six to sixteen in Italy. A charge of up to €30 might be imposed on parents who pull their kids out of elementary school.

It is common knowledge that you cannot withdraw your children from school while it is in session. Private schools may provide kids a little bit more flexibility. Your child can be required to retake the year if their absence hinders their progress.

What are the rules in Spain for taking children out of school for vacation?

Schooling is compulsory in Spain from the age of three to the age of sixteen.

Absenteeism can result in fines, three- to six-month prison sentences, and, in extreme cases, the loss of parental rights. However, these rules are more likely to deter than to enforce.

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Municipalities set their own fines, so they vary. In general, serious cases are limited to €1,500, but in Madrid, they can reach €30,000. However, fines are only likely to be imposed if a child misses more than 20% of classes in a month.

What are the rules for taking children out of school in Norway?

Schooling is compulsory in Norway from the age of six to the age of sixteen.

The headteacher may grant up to two weeks’ leave if it is in the best interests of the child’s education.

Parents who take their children out of school without permission may face fines. However, these are usually pursued only when a child has been absent repeatedly or for an extended period of time.

What are the rules in Sweden for taking children out of school?

Schooling is compulsory in Sweden from the age of six to the age of sixteen.

Students in primary school may be granted a brief period of leave for “certain trips, family celebrations, or religious holidays.” These are at the discretion of the headteacher and must not exceed 10 school days per academic year. A student’s performance and behavior are considered when granting leave.

What laws govern removing children from school in the UK?

When parents in the UK pull their children out of school, they risk fines of up to £2,500 (€2,850) or even up to three months in jail.

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If they are not paid within 21 days, fines increase to £120 (€137) per parent from the initial £60 (€68) per parent. There is a chance of prosecution after 28 days.
Any absence during the school day requires “special circumstances,” the specifics of which are left up to the school’s discretion, and must be approved in advance by the head teacher. According to a survey by Flight Centre, almost half of all parents think that a vacation falls within this category.

Taking your child on vacation during the school year without getting permission from the institution could result in less severe penalties, such as a court-issued parenting order. You must thus attend parenting classes. An education supervision order or a school attendance order could also be given to you.

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