I'm familiar with the word "Auszeit", which means "time off" (time for rest or recreation away from one's usual work). I have seen the term "Freistellung" at 8:50 minutes in https://www.tagesschau.de/multimedia/sendung/tagesschau_20_uhr/video-1336204.html :

Bezahlte Freistellung von Vätern nach der Geburt

If I understood correctly, both terms are synonyms. Is there any difference? DWDS/Duden definitions do not make it clear if there are any.


2 Answers 2


The short version is:

Both words are quite different with only some very small overlap.

Detailed view:

As correctly mentioned, Auszeit describes a kind of break by decision of the affected person.

Freistellung is more related to the employers or another sponsoring party's side. There are lots of further reasons of Freistellungen:

  • honorary office duties
  • work in the workers council (the normal work needs to be assigned to a colleague)
  • continued pay of salary without having to work at all (some kind of early retirement schemes); soccer trainers are fequently affected

With exception of the last item they do not correspond to an Auszeit at all.

  • Do you mean "Freistellung" refers to being free of the usual tasks in your job, but not necessarily being free of work? May 13 at 23:02
  • @AlanEvangelista: exactly, taking care of a newborn child seems not "free of work" either 😁, even if you share that load with your partner.
    – guidot
    May 14 at 7:32

"Freistellung" ("set free") means you have free time because someone has given you time off, which means you are not the originator of the change. For instance your boss can give you a 'Freistellung' because you asked him.

"Auszeit" ("time off") means you have free time because you have released yourself, which means that it was created by your own action.

The difference lies in who did it.

  • 1
    You may want to note that "Freistellung" is a set term in various fields, from a legal term in labor law (as RHa already linked in a comment to the question), to a procedure from railroad administration, to a task in image or video editing: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freistellung May 13 at 12:56
  • The difference described in the answer is not clear. In which case (besides quitting the job) an employee would release himself without having to ask for the approval of his/her boss first? If I'm asking for my boss for a "Freistellung", am I not the originator of the change? May 13 at 19:45

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