Topic: Germany

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What is the latest on employees’ rights in the event of redundancy in Germany?

In business, the restructuring of a company (such as by the closure of an individual business unit or a necessary reduction in the number of staff) may result in an employee’s redundancy. However, dismissing an employee by reason of redundancy has strict prerequisites under German law. The main requirements which must be observed under German … Continue reading

Do employees who are pregnant or on maternity leave enjoy any special protection in the event of redundancy in Germany?

This post was also contributed by Tony Rau, Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Munich). German law provides for extensive protection of pregnant employees and employees on leave in connection with pregnancy. Regarding the latter, German law distinguishes between maternity leave (i.e. 6 weeks before until 8 weeks after childbirth – or 6 weeks before until … Continue reading

Geplantes Entgelttransparenzgesetz

Mit dem geplanten Entgelttransparenzgesetz will die Bundesregierung Lohnunterschiede zwischen Frauen und Männern abschaffen. Durchschnittlich ist die Vergütung von Frauen in gleichwertigen Positionen 7 Prozent niedriger als die von Männern. Dieser sogenannte „Gender Pay Gap“ soll mit dem am 11. Januar 2017 vom Bundeskabinett beschlossenen „Gesetz zur Förderung der Transparenz von Entgeltstrukturen“ bekämpft werden. Mehr zum … Continue reading

Recent changes to the law on the dismissal of severely disabled employees

In Germany, as of 1 January 2017, various amendments to the law on severely disabled persons came into force. Of particular importance is a new regulation relating to the dismissal of severely disabled employees. Until the recent changes came into force, before the dismissal of a severely disabled employee the representative body for severely disabled … Continue reading

What rights do workers have to rest breaks in Germany?

This post was also contributed by Sebastian Kutzner, Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Munich). Due to increasing demands for a work life balance, uncertainty as to employees’ rights to rest periods, in particular, is widespread. German law distinguishes between two types of rest periods: Rest breaks (to be granted during working time); and Resting time … Continue reading

What rights and protections are there for part-time workers?

This post was also contributed by Dimitri Schaff, Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Munich). Currently, about one quarter of all employment relationships in Germany are based on part-time models, the proportion of part-time to full-time employees having increased by about 12 per cent since 2001. Furthermore, as a result of the implementation of the EU Part-time Workers … Continue reading

What rights and protections are there for workers on zero hours contracts in Germany?

Unlike in the U.K. and other EU member states, zero hours contracts are not (yet) common practice in Germany. To date, other arrangements aimed at achieving “flexible working” such as fixed-term or part-time contracts, secondment of personnel and – more recently – contracts to provide services have been more widespread. However, as German case law … Continue reading

“What are the latest developments on whistleblowing in the workplace in Germany?”

Apart from the well-known Wiki-leaks, recent prominent cases of whistleblowing such as Lux-leaks, the Panama Papers or the case of the German geriatric nurse Brigitte Heinisch, who was dismissed after revealing the ill-treatment of elderly people in a Berlin retirement home, continue to highlight the continued relevance of the topic “whistleblowing”. While this has resulted … Continue reading

Reform of the German Law on Temporary Employment

This post was also contributed by Bastian Semmel, International Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Frankfurt). With effect from 1 January 2017, the German legislation on temporary employment will be reformed, as the Federal Cabinet recently passed a draft law regarding this matter on 1 June 2016. These changes are designed to address the misuse of temporary … Continue reading

Fair P(l)ay in Germany? – What measures are in place (or proposed) to address gender pay inequality in the workplace

This post was also contributed by Ebru Tirel, Trainee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Munich). In Germany, “Equal Pay Day” is widely observed. It marks the day from which women are deemed to start to earn wages in that calendar year, where men have started to earn wages since January 1st. This year, Equal Pay Day was … Continue reading

Is it possible for employers to change the terms of employment contracts?

At first sight, the answer to this question would be: only by mutual agreement. But once you take a closer look there are many ways and situations that make it possible for an employer to unilaterally change the contractual terms. Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) are binding for members of those employers’ associations (firms)  and labour … Continue reading

What protection do employees have against race discrimination in Germany?

Due to the large number of refugees now living in Germany, protection against race discrimination has recently become an issue of greater importance. Under the German Anti-Discrimination-Act, which is derived from European directives, all employees in Germany, including apprentices and job applicants, are legally protected against discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic origin. In … Continue reading

Enforcing employee restraints of trade after termination of employment – an update

The legal framework for post-contractual non-compete covenants is unchanged since our last post on the topic in 2013. It is nevertheless worth mentioning the following interesting court decisions which deal with the enforceability of employee restraints and the employer’s obligation to pay compensation: Pursuant to the statutory provisions in sec. 74 et. seq. German Commercial … Continue reading

(Night-)Time is Money

Even though, unarguably, few employees would give up a good night’s sleep in order to work night shifts, operational necessity often dictates otherwise. Certain businesses can only remain competitive and survive in the market if they require their employees to work during night-time. Parcel services, bakeries and hospitals are just a few examples of businesses … Continue reading

What are the employment implications of the transfer of a business in Germany?

The employment implications of the transfer of a business are regulated by sec. 613a German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – BGB). A transfer of a business takes place where an economic entity is transferred by a legal transaction and the economic entity is continued by the new owner of the business. In order to determine whether such … Continue reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on grounds of gender in Germany?

All employees in Germany, including apprentices and job applicants, are fully protected against discrimination on grounds of gender under the German Anti-Discrimination-Act which is derived from European directives. In particular, it is unlawful to discriminate during the recruitment or promotion process. It is also unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender in the giving of … Continue reading

Notice Rights – What Rights Do Employees Have To Notice On Termination Of Employment

Notice rights have the purpose of giving the employee the opportunity to take appropriate measures in preparation for the termination. The obligation of the employer to adhere to certain notice periods and the length of these notice periods depend - amongst other things - on the characterisation of the termination and the duration of the … Continue reading

Altersdiskriminierung bei Kündigung im Kleinbetrieb

Eine altersdiskriminierende Kündigung kann unwirksam sein und Entschädigungsansprüche auslösen. Dies gilt auch im Kleinbetrieb, obwohl dort eine Kündigung grdsl. ohne Grund möglich ist. In der Entscheidung ging es um eine 1950 geborene Klägerin, die seit gut 20 Jahren bei einer Arztpraxis als Arzthelferin beschäftigt war. In der Praxis waren noch vier (jüngere) Arbeitnehmerinnen angestellt. Die … Continue reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on the grounds of sexual orientation in Germany?

Discrimination against people on grounds of their sexual orientation is a topic widely discussed in European politics. For example, only recently, in Ireland marriage between same sex partners became lawful. In Germany, it is still not possible for same sex partners to marry. They can only enter into a so-called registered civil partnership (eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft), … Continue reading

Rechtsprechungsänderung: Keine Urlaubskürzung wegen Elternzeit nach Beendigung des Arbeitsverhältnisses

Das Bundesarbeitsgericht änderte mit Urteil vom 19.05.2015 seine Rechtsprechung zur Kürzung von Urlaubsansprüchen, die während einer Elternzeit entstehen. Grundsätzlich entsteht auch während einer Elternzeit eines Arbeitnehmers ein Urlaubsanspruch. Endet das Arbeitsverhältnis nach Ablauf der Elternzeit, steht dem Arbeitnehmer ein Abgeltungsanspruch für den nicht genommenen Urlaub in Geld zu. Das bedeutet beispielsweise, dass der Arbeitnehmer, der … Continue reading
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