Littler Global Guide - Germany - Q1 2022

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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Abusive Reduction in Working Hours Regarding Part-time Work

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Andre Gieseler, Senior Associate – vangard | Littler

An employee whose employment relationship in a company with regularly more than 15 employees has existed for more than six months may demand to be allowed to work part-time. The employer must agree to the reduction in working hours if there are no operational reasons to the contrary. An opposing operational reason is given in particular if the implementation of the working time request significantly impairs the organization, workflow or operational safety or leads to the cause of disproportionate costs. In addition, the employer may also refuse its consent if the employee's request is an abuse of rights.

According to a recent ruling by the Berlin-Brandenburg Regional Labor Court, the assertion of a claim for a reduction in working hours of less than 10% is an abuse of rights if it is intended solely to prevent the employee from being scheduled for a particular shift in the future. This decision is in line with past rulings of the Federal Labor Court in similar cases, whereby an individual case must always be considered.

Police Doctor Fired for Criticizing COVID Policy

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Dr. Luisa Rödemer, Senior Associate – vangard | Littler

The Baden-Württemberg State Labor Court heard an action for protection against dismissal brought by a doctor employed by the Baden-Württemberg State Police. The plaintiff published an advertisement under her name in a newspaper that equated the Infection Protection Act with the “Enabling Act” of March 23, 1933. The state of Baden-Württemberg justified the ordinary termination in particular with the plaintiff's lack of suitability for the job as a police doctor in the public service. In addition, the plaintiff had violated her contractual duties with her conduct.

The duties of loyalty include not to disparage the state, the constitution and state organs. The plaintiff’s statement was not covered by the fundamental right of freedom of speech. The court is convinced that the plaintiff violated her duty of consideration for the interests of the defendant state, in particular her duty to support the free democratic basic order.

Proposal of the European Commission on a Regulation on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Author: Dr. Sabine Vianden, Associate – vangard | Littler

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence on February 23, 2022. The Directive includes all EU limited liability companies of substantial size and economic power (with 500+ employees and EUR 150 million+ in net turnover worldwide) as well as other limited liability companies operating in defined high impact sectors and having more than 250 employees and a net turnover of EUR 40 million worldwide and more.

The proposed Directive goes beyond the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act in several aspects. With regard to duties and due diligence, the Directive sets higher standards when it comes to global warming and the scope of the supply chain. Finally, the Directive provides for stricter consequences because it contains a civil liability provision that can be used to take legal action against the companies causing the damages. The Commission’s draft now passes to the European Parliament and the Council in the further procedure. Once it has been adopted, it needs to be implemented in the national law of the member states. This creates a need for adaptation into German law.

Increase in Statutory Minimum Wage and Remuneration Ceiling for Mini-Jobbers

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Author: Lara Müller-Esch, Associate – vangard | Littler

The statutory minimum wage shall increase to 12 euros per hour as of October 1, 2022, and the mini-job limit from EUR 450 to EUR 520. The federal cabinet has approved the proposed bill on February 23, 2022.

Easier Access to Short-time Allowance Continues

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Author: Andre Gieseler, Senior Associate – vangard | Littler

The special regulations for short-time allowance will be extended. The access requirements will remain reduced because it cannot be ruled out that the pandemic-related restrictions will continue. Therefore, on February 18, 2022, the federal cabinet set in motion that the following regulations should continue to apply until June 30, 2022: (1) The requirements for access to short-time allowance will remain lowered; (2) The accrual of minus hours will be waived; (3) Income from mini-jobs taken up during short-time working will not be offset against short-time allowance; and (4) Increased benefit rates to apply from the fourth or seventh month of receipt.

The bill also aims to extend the maximum period for which short-time allowance can be drawn to 28 months. It is currently 24 months.

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.