Littler Global Guide - Germany- Q1 2017

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

View all Q1 2017 Global Guide Quarterly updates

Protections for Severely Disabled Persons

Enacted Legislation

On January 1, 2017, various amendments to the law on severely disabled persons came into effect. Of particular importance is a new regulation relating to the dismissal of severely disabled employees. The hearing of the representative body for severely disabled employees is a prerequisite for the dismissal of a severely disabled employee whether with or without due notice.

Equal Pay Law

Enacted Legislation

On January 11, 2017, Germany's Cabinet approved legislation to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for doing equivalent work. Hence, workers in companies with 200 employees or more will be legally entitled to information on what criteria they are paid under. Companies with 500 employees or more will be required to report on equal pay efforts.

Employee Lending Law

Enacted Legislation

The amendments to the German Employee Lending Law will come into effect on April 1, 2017, which will restrict employers’ use of leased employees (external personnel). Personnel leasing permits will no longer cover “service contract” or “contract for work”. The destination company (hirer) must establish an employment relationship with the employee from the dispatching company (lending company) based on statutory provisions. The maximum duration of employee-related personnel leasing is 18 months. The law also increases the liabilities for deploying external personnel using contracts for work or service contracts. The goal is to tighten the equal pay doctrine.

Minimum Wage

New Order or Decree

The statutory minimum wage in Germany increased from €8.50 to €8.84 per hour as of January 1 2017. In principle, minimum wage applies, regardless of sector, to all employees working in Germany. However, until December 31 2017, a few deviating provisions in collective bargaining agreements will take precedence over the minimum wage (e.g., the meat industry, agricultural and forestry industries, the horticultural sector and newspaper delivery staff). In these sectors, a minimum wage of €8.50 will apply in 2017. Commencing January 1, 2018 these exceptions will no longer apply.

Neglect to Provide Daycare May Create Cause of Action for Lost Wages

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Germany’s highest court ruled that parents may sue for lost wages if they cannot find a place for their child in a public daycare center. This decision came in response to three mothers who filed a lawsuit declaring that authorities neglected to create the necessary daycare slots required by the 2013 ruling.

Anonymous Whistleblower

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Regional Court recently decided that the confiscation provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure does not permit compliance ombudsmen to withhold anonymous reports obtained from whistleblowers. The court does not recognize attorney-client relationship between the ombudsman and the whistleblower.

Maternity Protection

Proposed Bill or Proposed Initiative

It is anticipated that there will be changes to Germany’s Maternity Protection Act in order to improve protection for nursing mothers and pregnant women. Such changes may include an increase in the scope of the act (i.e. not just only but also third party managing directors) and extensions to the 12-week protection.

Personnel Leasing

Proposed Bill or Proposed Initiative

It is anticipated that the German Act on Temporary Employment will be reformed, with effect from April 1, 2017. It is designed to strengthen the rights of temporary workers. Changes include a prohibition on the use of temporary workers as strike-breakers, consideration of temporary workers in the legal thresholds on corporate co-determination, and a maximum leasing duration of 18 months, among others.

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.