Littler Global Guide - Germany - Q4 2020

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Government Resolution on Wearing Masks in Office Spaces

New Order or Decree

Author: Fritz Pieper, Senior Associate - vangard | Littler

The government agreed on a resolution on new measures including the obligation to wear masks in office spaces that are highly frequented by employees or the public (e.g., corridors and restrooms) to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. As the competence of implementing measures regarding the prevention of infectious diseases is assigned to the federal states, the government cannot implement the measure itself. However, many federal states have implemented this recommendation by making it compulsory. The mask mandate does not apply to the direct place of work (e.g., desks). Employers are encouraged to inform their employees of this resolution.

Federal Labor Court Finds Crowd Workers are Employees

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Franka Schlemm, Associate - vangard | Littler

The Federal Labor Court decided on the question whether a “crowd worker” can be classified as an employee. Crowd workers undertake minor tasks for companies. In this case, the company and crowd worker agreed on a framework agreement upon which the crowd worker acquired the task assigned by the company. The court emphasized that in this work relationship, the company exercised control through a rather strict framework, which dictated the work, time, place and tasks. The court argued that because of this amount of control, the work was an employment relationship. The company made it possible for crowd workers to earn higher wages by enabling them to accomplish multiple tasks at the same time, and in this way created incentives for workers to take over as many tasks as possible.

Exemption for British Citizens from Duty to Apply for Visa

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Author: Jan-Ove Becker, Partner - vangard | Littler

Changes were made to the Employment Ordinance (Beschäftigungsverordnung) and the Residence Ordinance (Aufenthaltsverordnung) to include British citizens within the group of those foreign citizens who can travel to and work in Germany without having to apply for a visa after the transition period ends on December 31, 2021. Even though the UK has left the European Union, British nationals will be able to continue working in any occupation without the need for a certain qualification, as of January 1, 2021. The same procedure applies for citizens of other countries, such as the U.S., Japan and Canada. However, such citizens will still need to apply for a residence permit, though they will be able to do so when already residing in Germany.

Maximum Period of Receiving Short-Time Work Allowance Extended

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Author: Jan-Ove Becker, Partner - vangard | Littler

The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs extended the maximum period for receiving the statutory short time work allowance to up to 24 months. According to section 1 of the Ordinance on the Maximum Time Period for Short Time Work Allowances, the entitlement expires December 31, 2021. The Ministry agreed on the extended periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to enable employers to cope with the impact to their business resulting from not being able to terminate employment relationships. The changes were necessary, as the pandemic has had a more devastating effect than originally expected when the maximum period for the allowance was prolonged in April 2020.

Statutory Minimum Wages Increased

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Author: Dagmar Lessnau, Senior Associate - vangard | Littler

An agreement has been reached to increase the statutory minimum wage in phases. Following the recommendation of the minimum wages commission, the government published a new ordinance on the applicable statutory minimum wages. According to section 1, the minimum wage per hour will amount to EUR 9.50 as of January 1, 2021; EUR 9.60 as of July 1, 2021; EUR 9.82 as of January 1, 2022; and EUR 10.45 as of July 1, 2022. The ordinance is effective as of January 1, 2021.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.