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Family care prevents termination

The State Federal Labor Court of Thuringia decided on 2 October 2014 that an employee may claim special termination protection once he has applied to the employer to take some days off in order to take undertake nursing care of a member of his family (docket no. 6 Sa 345/13).

By way of background, German employees are legally entitled to apply to be suspended from work totally or in part either (i) for up to 10 days in order to organize the nursing of a spouse or (ii) for up to 6 months in order to nurse a spouse. Once the employee has applied for such suspension he must not be terminated ordinarily until the end of the nursing period.

The labor court had to rule on the termination of an employee who applied for nursing time of just a few days, but 6 months in advance, once he became aware of his employer’s intention to terminate his employment. The court considered the termination to be invalid as the law does not stipulate a time period during which the application may be filed. Irrespective of the circumstances the court did not deem the employee’s behaviour to be fraudulent. In the view of the judges the early application and the very limited nursing period did not sufficiently indicate a fraudulent intent.