Germany Employment Law

Employment in Germany Law

Laws and regulations in place in Germany to provide for employment have undergone many different changes over the years, and it is important to understand how these changes can affect both employer and employee in the country. The European Union can affect these laws and how employees can transfer to a different country for work.

Relevant Employment Topics in Germany

For employees in Germany, there are certain topics that are important that will affect the relationships between worker and company. These include pay, salary or wages and the working days. Days in the company can consist of standard employment days, holidays and vacation time. Some may have the ability to take maternity or paternity leave and others have paid time off. Protection from discrimination and harassment is another right of employees in Germany with the possibility of initiating a claim against the person committing the act. In the end, a German lawyer may become the best friend of an employee.

Minimum Wage in Germany

The employment laws in Germany set the minimum wage which changes based on the year. Before the alteration in 2020, it is set at EUR 9.19 per hour. In the change in 2020, it will increase to EUR 9.35 per hour. If a person has a contract or agreement to work in a company for less than this minimum amount, the contract is invalid and can lead to possible action against the employer. However, the minimum wage in the country does not apply to someone that works as a trainee, entry-level into a company that is qualifying for work or someone that is undergoing compulsory practical training such as connected to an apprenticeship or when taking a university-level study course.

Not Paid Minimum Wage

If someone is not given the bare minimum wage in Germany, he or he can make a claim with the employer. This can lead to payment for the difference with the company. Subcontractors attached to a project cannot make these claims with the direct employer, but they can with the contracting company. If the employer is the problem, it may become necessary to hire a lawyer and initiate a claim. Violations of minimum wages are under the Minimum Wage Act and can lead to large fines that can reach up to EUR 500,000 in Germany for a successful case. The legal team working against the company may seek as much as this.

Employment Pay Bonuses in Germany

While not a requirement by the company, bonuses are often a perk of working for many businesses in Germany. There are different ways to pay the bonuses, different types and ways for the company to pay employees these. The business can offer to supplement standard pay through a bonus, provide profit sharing through commissions and even offer incentives. Some companies will give the staff bonuses based on the actions of employees working at the time. While not a guarantee, the bonus is often one perk a company will offer in a benefits package to attract new workers.

Supplemental Pay in Germany

As a standard way to increase the usual pay, German companies may supplement the minimum wage with additional amounts. The business may offer this for multiple reasons or for a variety of ways to supplement a standard lower pay. This can increase hourly rates through overnight shifts, longer times in the building or when the person works on a holiday or a rest day. When the business wants to attract skilled workers, the employer may offer supplemental pay to increase the chances of keeping current workers and getting new ones to notice the business.

Illness and Sick Pay in Germany

It is when the employee is not well enough to remain at work that he or she must take a day off for illness. This extends to both physical and mental conditions that this person experiences in the German company. The employer needs a notice of this leave immediately to ensure that an adequate replacement is available. If the illness or absence remains in effect for more than three consecutive days, the employer must provide a doctor's note to the company employer. This is standard in many countries where there are sick days that provide payment for the day off or when the person needs at least three or more days to get better.

German Sick Day Law

When the employee has a valid excuse for taking a sick day, he or she will receive all wages for the day up to six weeks of the illness period. The employer must pay this per the German laws regarding sick days. While not always possible, there are times when the employee can use the six-week period more than once a year. If the illness or a different one occurs again, the six-week timeframe will start over. This will last for up to six months of the end of the sick leave, or it can provide for up to one year since the first issue of sickness. If the condition is new, the sick period can start over. This six week period can provide up to 70 percent of pay for a maximum of 78 weeks.

Work Days and Hours in Germany

In Germany, the standard workweek consists of six days of Monday through Saturday. The working hours of the employee are not to exceed an eight hour day or more than 48 hours per each week. However, this can extend to up to ten more hours under certain circumstances with the employer. Night jobs can only provide eight hours per each day. However, some employees may work through on-call times which only count when the person is actually working but can provide overtime to the individual. Working on Sundays and holidays is normally not granted unless cleared by the employer.

Exceptions to the Work Days in Germany

Some exceptions exist for the working employee in certain service industries. Working on Sundays will provide additional compensation or through additional time off within the next two weeks of work. Rest breaks are a requirement if the person works more than six but no more than a maximum of nine hours. These scheduled rests are up to 30 minutes but can split to fifteen minutes each in two different times. A 45-minute break is necessary after six hours of work in the company when the business has the employee working for nine hours. But, then the person must have up to eleven hours of rest.

Holiday/Vacation Time in Germany

Through German law, the minimum amount of vacation and holiday time is 24 working days of the year each year. This is through the six-day working week which excludes Sundays. This system separates and distinguishes standard working days or Werktage and office days or Arbeitstage. Office days are Monday through Friday with a four-week vacation of up to twenty office days. However, the employer usually increases the minimum vacation beyond the standard. The common practice of these employers is to increase these days to 25 to 30 for each year.

Vacation in the German Company

The entitlement to full vacation days at a German company only starts when the person has when with the business and working for no less than six months. If termination occurs in this time, the employee can acquire one-twelfth of the vacation entitlement pay each month of the relationship of employment with the company. If he or she faces termination after the first six months but within the second half of the calendar year when at the company, he or she will receive the full annual pay for vacation even if terminated immediately. This may reflect in the next paycheck.

Taking Vacation in the German Company

As with many countries, the employee working for the German company will need to request the vacation day and receive an approval before he or she can take the time off. The employer can turn down the request for various reasons, but when the vacation is urgent because of something specific, the employee may have a higher priority than those using social factors. If the employee takes a vacation in a different company in the same calendar year, he or she has no entitlement to take a vacation again. The previous employer will and must certify that the employee already took a vacation at that company in the same year.

Pay During Vacation in Germany

When the individual takes a vacation from the company, he or she will receive full compensation as if the person worked the day normally. For voluntary staff situations, the employer may even grant additional and special bonuses. The employee must take the vacation in the calendar year awarded. If he or she does not, the time if forfeit. The unused time can carry over to the next year until the last day of March but only if there are issues such as operational or personal reasons. If additional days remain but are not taken by the employee, he or she can claim compensation rather than take the days.

Maternity Leave in Germany

When a pregnant woman works in a company in Germany, she will not need to work in the last six weeks before the birth of the child unless she directly states that she wants to do so at the time. This period also applies to the next eight weeks after the child is born. The mother will not work during that period and is forbidden from doing so. The maternity leave usually starts without notice to the employer. However, a medical certificate from the doctor can state that she needs to refrain from working because of the possibility of endangering the health of the child. Pay is the standard as per the last three months before the maternity leave taken.

It is not legal for the company to terminate the mother for up to four months after the birth of the baby. This remains true unless a public authority grants consent after birth. This usually only occurs because of exceptional circumstances such as the failure of the business that the pregnant woman was working at before giving birth. However, the mother can terminate her right to work for the company during this period even if there is a contract of employment. The birth may also cause complications which can extend the standard leave or require medical leave afterwards.

Parental Leave in Germany

When there is a new baby or child in the house, the father can take paternity leave for up to three years or until the child reaches the age of three. Any parent in Germany can apply for parental leave that has an employment relationship with a company. He or she must be an employee and have an employment contract in Germany. This can apply to time-limited contracts, part-time situations and marginal employment. Apprentices and similar employees can also apply for leave. It is possible to transfer up to 24 months of the three years to a different time or until the child reaches eight years of age.

Parental Allowance Plus in Germany

After 2015 in July, the parents of a child can apply for the additional option of Parental Allowance Plus. This is the parental allowance from the German government for up to a 24 month period where both parents can take leave. It is possible to share it between them both for up to 28 months. During this time, the parents can apply twice for a reduction of working time at the company or to have no more than 30 hours or fifteen to 30 in the same week for up to two months. The employer has up to four weeks to deny this request.

Legal Employment Help in Germany

When the employer violates the employment laws or contracts in Germany, the employee may need to hire a lawyer to either seek a remedy to the matter or to seek justice. The legal guidelines in the country can fine the company for large sums for these offenses. The employee may need to seek compensation for the lack of follow-through with certain rules and laws for other matters. The lawyer may also need to help with an employment contract, understand discrimination and harassment claims and help the employee seek the best outcome for various situations that could arise. Legal support is important for various aspects of discrimination at the workplace either with the employer or other workers or when the company violates various employment matters that can even include minimum wage.

The lawyer can also support the employer if the workers engage in illegal activities. The employer may need to seek a way out of a legal problem that only a lawyer can provide services and assistance through. The German employment lawyer may need to research various matters and even present an argument in the courts. He or she will need to ensure the newest changes to the law are understood and available for the case. Some lawyers may need to work with the client extensively before the case to ensure that the individual is aware of the process and steps to get through the case.

Hiring a German Lawyer for Employment Issues

The citizen working for a German company will need a German lawyer to help with employment complications and violations. Issues with wages, vacation and maternity or paternity leave usually require the help of a legal professional to get through and to seek a legal remedy in the courts or through negotiations outside of German courts.

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