Return from part-time to full time employment – new legislative initiative planned to become effective in 2019

Not long ago, the former German government failed to implement a right to return from part-time to full-time employment for employees. In May 2017, former German Secretary of Employment, Andrea Nahles, had to admit that her party’s plan to strengthen employee rights had not been implemented.
Just recently, the tide has turned: After the new government was formed, the Social Democratic Party and its new Secretary of Employment, Hubertus Heil, were able to announce a fresh approach to the part-time legislation. The Ministry of Employment has now provided a draft law to be presented to the German cabinet. This draft law includes specific regulations on a right to return from temporary part-time to full-time employment.
Applicable to all establishments with at least 45 employees, the law will enable employees not only to assert temporary part-time employment, but also to have a right to return to full time employment after the requested period. Such regulations could have significant impacts on employers in Germany. However, more specific details of the law are as yet unknown. Additionally, the law is only just to be presented to the cabinet, leaving a long legislative process with reasonable chances for changes ahead.
Nonetheless, one of the already planned restrictions of the new temporary part-time employment has already been released: In establishments with less than 200 regularly employed employees, the right to temporary part-time employment shall only be granted to one out of every fifteen employees. How the law and its specifications should be practically implemented and what its consequences are, remains unknown at this point in time.
Major parties of the opposition have already stated strong disagreements with the intended law. Thus, the legislative outcome is yet to be determined. Notwithstanding, the legislative process should be monitored carefully during the coming months.