Whether it’s Carnival, Mardi Gras or Mardi Gras: The fifth season often doesn’t stop at companies. But employees always have to celebrate – and when can the boss ban costumes at work?

Carnival celebrations are part of February in many places, including in companies. But what if you’re not a fan yourself? Even then you can’t just go home – at least if the carnival celebration at work takes place during regular working hours and the employer makes it clear that it is a business-related event organized by him.

“If you don’t want to celebrate, you have to work as normal,” said Cologne-based specialist lawyer for labor law Volker Görzel in an article in the “Deutsche Handwerks Zeitung”.

However, whether the employer is allowed to prescribe a disguise at the workplace during carnival depends on the specific situation. This could be permissible, for example, if the employees’ costumes are part of a marketing campaign – and this is justified by a corresponding regulation. “In the case of a carnival celebration in the company, however, I would be very careful with such a requirement,” says Görzel.

For employees who would like to dress up for carnival or carnival in the office, company, etc., the following applies: Employees can wear whatever they want at work, including a costume. But there are exceptions: “Certain jobs require a mandatory dress code, for example working at a bank, jobs with frequent customer contact or jobs that require protective clothing to be worn,” said Görzel in the article.

Follow the move in the media

If you want to follow carnival parades on TV, online or on the radio during working hours, you should ask your supervisor for permission. Otherwise there may be trouble. In any case, listening to the radio during working hours is generally only permitted if it does not distract from work and the employee can do his or her job properly. But there is a high probability that following the carnival parades will lead to a lack of concentration. Something else only applies if it is customary in the company to follow the moves in the media. Then employees do not have to obtain the boss’s permission again separately.

alcohol in the workplace

In principle, the employer must declare an alcohol ban: Employees should therefore first take a look at the company agreement. If there is nothing there, there is nothing wrong with a glass or two of sparkling wine or Kölsch. Provided that the alcohol consumption is so low that the performance on the job is not impaired.


There is no basic entitlement to holiday during the carnival period, neither paid nor unpaid. The employer must generally take the employee’s vacation requests into account, but he can also refuse them if important operational reasons speak against them. Such a reason can also be that too many other colleagues are already on vacation during the carnival days. Therefore, carnivalists should always apply for their vacation as early as possible.

Under certain circumstances, however, employees can also stay away from work without applying for vacation: If an employer, for example, released all employees unconditionally on Shrove Monday for several years in a row, this can be considered a “company practice”. Workers can expect to be able to celebrate on this day next year as well. It is not good advice for carnival people to pretend to be unable to work on the great days. Anyone who takes sick leave for no reason and then gets caught at the carnival parade risks being fired.