Topic: Germany

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Stricter COVID-19 rules at German workplaces

In Germany the “Epidemic Situation of National Significance” ends on November 25, 2021.  As a result, the German legislature has amended several COVID-19 related laws, such as the German Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz – IfSG), in order to continue certain protective measures. The amended regulations (BT-Drs. 20/15 and BT-Drs. 20/78) aim to provide for a … Continue reading

The new German Works Council Modernization Act

The “Act to Promote Works Council Elections and Works Council Activities in a Digital Working World” (Betriebsrätemodernisierungsgesetz – Works Council Modernization Act) came into force on June 18, 2021. The Act is intended to facilitate the activities of works councils and to strengthen the co-determination rights of works councils with regard to the use of … Continue reading

Germany: Exclusion clauses put to the test

Regularly agreed in employment contracts, exclusion clauses shorten the statutory limitation period for claims arising in the employment relationship and ensure certainty between employer and employee especially with regards to claims that are years old. In a remarkable decision the German Federal Labour Court (BAG, 26.11.2020 – ref. 8 AZR 58/20) has fundamentally changed the … Continue reading

Who bears the investigation costs for compliance violations?

Carrying out investigations to determine violations of compliance rules can cause considerable costs for companies. In a recent decision, the German Federal Labor Court (BAG, 29.4.2021 – ref. 8 AZR 276/20) has now clarified the circumstances in which an employee must bear the costs of investigations in connection with allegations of breach of compliance rules … Continue reading

COVID-19: Mandatory testing in companies

In view of worrying pandemic figures, the German Federal Government has amended the existing “SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance” (Corona-ArbSchV) (the Ordinance). Employers now face the additional obligation of offering COVID-19 testing to their employees, unless the employees work from home. Introduction of mandatory testing… Continue reading

Germany: COVID-19-vaccination and employment law

In Germany, employers are obliged to take all necessary measures, including those to protect against infection (such as offering working from home, increased hygiene protections, social distancing and behavior) and offering voluntary company vaccination programs, in order to protect the health and safety of the workers in the company and to fulfil their obligations under … Continue reading

Germany: Home office under the new Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance

To combat and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (the SARS-CoV-2-virus), the German government has issued a new “SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance” (Corona-ArbSchV) (the Ordinance) providing for additional and time-limited measures to reduce workplace-related personal contacts. These measures include the obligation for employers to offer their employees home working, unless there are compelling … Continue reading

Sick leave under German employment law: Termination, medical certificates by phone and latest topics

Termination in case of the threat of taking sick leave Employees who respond to an instruction by their employer with the threat of taking sick leave can be dismissed without notice. It is irrelevant whether the employee actually falls ill later or whether the instruction by the employer was unlawful. In a recent decision, the … Continue reading

Management and foreign languages: Communication with the works council

Managers of international companies are often confronted with the problem of having to communicate with their employees and the works council in a foreign language that they do not fully master. This can easily lead to conflicts. In a recent decision in June, the Nuremberg Regional Labor Court (ref. 1 TaBV 33/19) has now clarified the scope. The … Continue reading

Preparing to return to the workplace: What should German employers be doing?

Public life is slowly returning to normality in Germany as stores, restaurants and cafes begin to  reopen. However, a return to ”business as usual“ seems a long way off. Companies and employers need to consider different priorities and complex provisions when preparing the return to the workplace. In general, employers have a duty to take … Continue reading

Relaxation of German working time regulations due to COVID-19?

In an effort to fight the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) is working on a bill to relax restrictions on working time in Germany. Specifically, longer working hours, shorter rest periods and the employment of workers on Sundays and public holidays for certain activities will temporarily … Continue reading

COVID-19 / Germany: Admissible measures and co-determination rights

The rapid spread of COVID-19 within Europe and the beginning of the pandemic have led many of our clients to consider how employees and, if necessary, customers can be protected against any further spread of the infection and which employment law related measures should they be taking. We have summarised and answered the main questions … Continue reading

COVID-19: Erleichterungen bei Kurzarbeit

Um Arbeitsplätze zu schützen und die infolge der Corona-Krise von einem Arbeitsausfall betroffenen Unternehmen zu unterstützen, hat die deutsche Regierung Erleichterungen bei der Kurzarbeit beschlossen. Rückwirkend zum 1. März 2020 können Betriebe bei der Agentur für Arbeit Kurzarbeit beantragen, wenn ein Zehntel (statt bisher 1/3) ihrer Beschäftigten von einem Arbeitsausfall wegen der Epidemie betroffen ist. … Continue reading

Germany: An Employer’s duties dealing with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Q&A

COVID-19 is spreading across the world and companies everywhere are faced with its challenges. In circumstances where a COVID-19 case impacts your German workplace we recommend close coordination with the public health authority on how to proceed. In doing so – especially against a possible liability for illness or even death – it will show … Continue reading

Facilitating HR Management: Electronic medical certificates

As part of the “Third Bureaucracy Relief Act” the German government intends to introduce an electronic submission procedure for medical certificates regarding the incapacity of employees. More than 80 million of such certificates are issued every year by doctors in Germany. Replacing extensive documentation and record-keeping duties will allow medium-sized companies in particular to reduce … Continue reading

Control or trust: Legal claim to home office?

Digitization and  technological advances are accelerating the flexibility of working conditions leading to a changed understanding of leadership. A key topic of debate is the “home office” which is currently used by approximately 12 per cent of employees in Germany for all or part of their working time. On this topic, the German government is … Continue reading

Managing German labour migration: The new “Skilled Immigration Act”

The German Bundesrat recently approved a long-awaited and controversially debated immigration legislation, implementing several European directives dating back more than ten years. The “Skilled Immigration Act (“Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz”) intends to attract qualified professionals from around the world. Further, the Act aims to improve labour market efficiency, prevent skill shortages and offset regional imbalances in order to … Continue reading

EuGH fordert systematische Arbeitszeiterfassung

Unternehmen in der Europäischen Union sollen künftig dazu verpflichtet sein, ein System zur Erfassung der täglichen effektiven Arbeitszeit ihrer Arbeitnehmer einzuführen. Der Europäische Gerichtshof (EuGH) entschied in einem Urteil vom 14.05.2019, dass alle Mitgliedstaaten von Arbeitgebern einfordern müssen, „ein objektives, verlässliches und zugängliches System einzurichten, mit dem die von einem jeden Arbeitnehmer geleistete tägliche Arbeitszeit … Continue reading

German court: Protection of whistle-blower confidentiality does not generally override the data subject access right

On the scope of subject access requests under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GRPR) in the context of compliance and whistle-blowing regimes, the Regional Labour Court (Landesarbeitsgericht) of Stuttgart decided that an employer was required not only to provide an employee with the records containing performance and behavioural data, but also to disclose information … Continue reading

Key developments expected for 2019

At the beginning of 2019, some important key changes to German labor law came into force. In particular, there were significant changes to the Part-Time and Fixed-Term Work Act, which are described in more detail in the following article. On 1 January 2019, section 9a was newly inserted into the Part-Time Work and Fixed-Term Employment … Continue reading

Fairness als neue Arbeitgeberpflicht

Arbeitgeber sehen sich in Deutschland mit einer neuen Rechtspflicht konfrontiert: Laut Bundesarbeitsgericht müssen Verträge mit Arbeitnehmern „fair verhandelt“ werden, um wirksam zu sein. Im entschiedenen Fall hatte eine Reinigungskraft in ihrer Privatwohnung einen Aufhebungsvertrag mit ihrem Arbeitgeber abgeschlossen – darin wurde die sofortige Beendigung ihres Arbeitsverhältnisses ohne Zahlung einer Abfindung vereinbart. Im Nachhinein focht die … Continue reading
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