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Limits to the (personal) scope of a collective promise

According to the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – docket number: 10 AZR 453/13) the employer is entitled to limit the scope of a collective obligation (Gesamtzusage) at any time, even where it already applied to the workforce, due to the conditions of its initial declaration.

If the employer declares to the staff that the company will grant a durable benefit, this collective obligation also applies to employees starting work at a later date. So the scope of the collective obligation is typically not limited to employees employed at the time of its initial declaration.

According to the Federal Labour Court, however, the employer is entitled to change the conditions of the obligation for the future so that the collective obligation applies to new employees with new conditions. A collective obligation (Gesamtzusage) applies to staff in accordance with the applicable conditions under which it was made.