We have good news for all employers hosting a Christmas party in Germany: You can relax and simply enjoy the event, as there are no specific employer obligations when hosting a work party / event.
There is no general obligation for companies to host a work party / event for their employees. However, such obligation may be created if the party has been held for several consecutive years or if it is provided for in an agreement with the company’s works council. If an obligation exists, the employer is free to decide whether to host the party during or outside office hours or on the weekend. In each case, the employee is not obligated to take part, as participating in parties / events is not part of an employee’s usual contractual duties. Furthermore, the employer is free to decide whether to pay remuneration for the time spent at the work party / event. However, it is standard that the remuneration is paid if the party / event takes place during office hours.