Littler Global Guide - Germany - Q4 2021

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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Infection Protection Act Amended

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Franziska Kahlbau, Associate – vangard | Littler

According to the amendments to the Infection Protection Act, which came into force on November 24, 2021, and apply until March 19, 2022, employers and employees are now only allowed to enter a workplace where there is physical contact with other persons with a so-called “3G” (vaccinated, recovered, or tested) certificate. The employer is obliged to check the vaccinated or recovered status or the negative test result of employees before they enter the workplace. Violations of this obligation are punishable by a fine both on the part of the employees and on the part of the employer; for employees, violations can also lead to consequences under labor law (warning up to and including dismissal).

In addition, according to the home office obligation reintroduced by the amendment of the Infection Protection Act, the employer must offer employees who perform office work or comparable activities to carry them out from home if there are no urgent operational reasons to the contrary. Employees must accept this offer, provided there are no personal reasons speaking against working from home.

Short-time Work Affecting Vacation Entitlements

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Philipp Schulte, Associate – vangard | Littler

The Federal Labor Court has ruled that the vacation entitlement of employees whose working days are temporarily completely cancelled due to short-time work can be recalculated and, if necessary, reduced. The loss of entire working days due to short-time work justifies a recalculation of the vacation entitlement during the year. Days of work lost due to short-time work agreed in individual contracts are not to be equated with periods of compulsory work either under national law or under EU law. These principles also apply if short-time work has been effectively introduced on the basis of a works agreement. The judgement is in line with a previous decision by the Federal Labor Court regarding unpaid leave upon the employee’s request as well as one regarding part-time retirement (Altersteilzeit).

Consequences of an Occupational Accident in the Mobile Office

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Authors: Dr. Sabine Vianden, Associate, and Luisa Rödemer, Senior Associate – vangard | Littler

According to the Federal Social Court, the decisive factor for the classification of an accident in the so-called home (mobile) office as an occupational accident, which entails special consequences under insurance law, is that there is an internal connection between the specific activity that led to the accident and the insured activity. If an activity serving the company was intended and this can be understood by objective circumstances, the accident is insured accordingly. Therefore, an accident on the way from the employee’s bedroom to a desk downstairs can be an occupational accident if those requirements are met.

Bicycle Suppliers Entitled to Receive Essential Work Equipment

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

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

Bicycle suppliers (so-called riders) who deliver food and beverages and receive their orders via a smartphone app are entitled to have their employer provide them with the work equipment essential for performing their job. This includes a roadworthy bicycle and a suitable internet-capable cell phone. The employee cannot be referred to statutory claims (e.g., reimbursement of expenses, under Section 670 of the German Civil Code), but deviations from this principle can be contractually agreed. If this is done in the employer's general terms and conditions, they are effective only if the employee is granted appropriate financial compensation for the use of the employee’s own bicycle and/or cell phone.

Proposed EU Directive on Gig Economy Workers

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Jan-Ove Becker, Shareholder, and Luisa Rödemer, Senior Associate – vangard | Littler

On December 9, 2021, the EU Commission presented a new legislative proposal for the classification of gig economy workers as employees using certain criteria. As the European trade commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, has highlighted, there have been more than 1,000 court judgments across the EU regarding gig economy workers’ employment status in recent years. The proposal lists five criteria, according to which a dependent employment relationship is given if two criteria are met. The directive takes some of the flexibility away from employers, but also creates legal certainty for the cooperation with gig economy workers. But in the end we need to wait to see what will become law after the lengthy period of deliberation, voting, and implementation of the directive.

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.