Occupational Pensions: European Court of Justice strengthens claims of pensioners in case of insolvency

By judgment of 9 September 2020 (docket number: ECLI:EU:C:2020:682; Joined Cases C-674/18 and C-675/18) the European Court of Justice has ruled that the settled case law of the German Federal Labour Court on the limited liability of the acquirer for pension entitlements in the event of insolvency does not apply without restriction. It is only …

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Covid-19: Restrictions on travel to Germany

In light of current Covid-19 developments, restrictions on travel to Germany are constantly changing. If the traveller is not able to produce the required documentation, there is a risk that either the airline or the border authority of the Schengen State of first entry, or the German Federal Police, may deny entry to Germany. In …

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Occupational Pensions: Exclusion of survivor’s pension in case of marriage after early retirement

By judgment of 3 June 2020 (docket number: 3 AZR 226/19) the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has ruled that the exclusion of a survivor’s pension is justified if the pension plan provides for full pension benefits in the event of early retirement on reaching the age of 50 and if the marriage was …

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Occupational Pensions: New law introduces insolvency protection for pension benefits granted via pension insurance funds (“Pensionskasse”)

According to a new law (“Siebtes Gesetz zur Änderung des Vierten Buches Sozialgesetzbuch und anderer Gesetze“, BGBl. 2020 I S. 1248 [1271]) pension benefits granted through a so-called pension insurance fund (“Pensionskasse”) will in future be protected against the insolvency of the employer. German occupational pension law stipulates that pension commitments can be granted not …

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Annual Leave: Does the law require employers to remind sick employees to take vacation?

On 7 June 2020, the German Federal Labor Court (FLC) (docket number 9 AZR 401/19) referred a question regarding the compatibility of the expiry of vacation entitlements with EU law to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for preliminary ruling. This is likely to eliminate remaining legal uncertainties in relation to permanently sick employee’s vacation …

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Occupational Pensions: No liability of the employer for a reduction of benefits by an external pension carrier before the pension benefits fall due

By judgment of 12 May 2020 (docket number: 3 AZR 157/19) the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has ruled that the employer’s liability for pension benefits based on pension commitments under the involvement of an external pension carrier pursuant to Section 1 Paragraph 1 Sentence 3 of the German Company Pensions Act (BetrAVG) only …

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Private use of internet and e-mail during working hours – Termination without notice due to “working time fraud”

The private use of internet and e-mail despite a corresponding prohibition during working hours on company devices can justify termination without notice under German labour law the Higher Regional Labour Court of Cologne ruled on 7 February 2020 (docket number: 4 Sa 329/19). The case An employee of a company had written several e-mails and …

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The new Corona Warning App and its legal implications for employment law

The new Corona Warning App launched in Germany on Tuesday June 16th , 2020 and had already been downloaded nearly 6,5 million times as of the next morning. How does the App work? According to the information released by the German government, the app uses Bluetooth technology to measure the distance and duration of encounters …

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Planned Novelties in Employment and Social Law through German “Social Pact II”

The CDU/CSU and SPD parliamentary groups have introduced a new package of laws into the German Bundestag containing important labour and social regulations, which will be passed in the near future. This package again contains numerous changes in labour and social law. Further measures are to be taken to cushion the economic and social hardships …

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New legislation during the pandemic: Online court hearings at labour and social courts

At the moment, hearings at the labour and social courts are largely suspended. This is problematic in so far as it mostly concerns existential questions such as the existence of an employment relationship or a claim for wage payment as well as collective issues. These questions require a quick decision. Particularly in proceedings for protection …

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Which measures for occupational health and safety are required in the current situation?

Whereas it has previously been necessary to fall back on general principles when planning occupational health and safety measures, Federal Minister of Labour, Mr Heil has now specified these in more detail on 16 April 2020 and has thus established guidelines for (physical) cooperation. The requirements set out here must already be complied with by …

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Covid-19: Temporary changes to maximum working hours for certain industries

Following an amendment of the Working Time Act as of March 28, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs issued a Working Hours Ordinance, which from April 10, 2020 onwards allows exceptions to the provisions of the Working Hours Act only for certain activities and only for a limited period until  June 30, …

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Works council meetings by video or phone conference?

On April 08, 2020, the Federal Government adopted changes regarding co-determination at company level. According to the government draft, the possibilities for the works councils to pass resolutions will be extended and the ability of the staff representatives to act will be ensured. The  planned revision of the Works Council Constitution Act (BetrVG) allows staff …

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Occupational Pensions: Partial retirement is to be treated as part-time work

By judgment of 21 January 2020 (docket number: 3 AZR 281/18) the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has ruled that for the calculation of pension benefits partial retirement (Altersteilzeit) is to be treated as part-time work (Teilzeitarbeit). The employer and the former employee were in dispute over the question of whether periods of partial …

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Occupational Pensions: Employer’s obligation to carry out pension adjustments according to occupational pension law does not apply to non-occupational pension benefits

By judgment of 19 November 2019 (docket number: 3 AZR 281/18) the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) has ruled that, in the event that an employer has granted a total pension (Gesamtversorgung) which consists of both occupational pensions and other types of pension benefits, the employer’s obligation to carry out pension adjustments according to …

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