Dr. Astrid Schnabel LL.M.

Change in Work Constitution Act to Increase Employee Representation

Following a legislative reform earlier this year, flight crews’ rights to obtain employee representation through a works council have been improved. While employees from (almost) all fields of work can choose to elect a works council, sec. 117 of the Works Constitution Act formerly provided for an exemption for flight crews. Flight crews were only able to establish an employee representative body if their collective bargaining agreement provided for such representation. Consequently, only flight crews …

Change in Work Constitution Act to Increase Employee Representation Read More »

Unpaid leave allows for reduced vacation entitlement

In its recent decision dated 19 March 2019 the Federal Labour Court ruled that periods of unpaid leave will not be taken into consideration when calculating statutory vacation entitlements (docket number 9 AZR 315/17). In the case at hand, the employee had taken unpaid leave from 1 September 2013 until 31 August 2015. Upon returning to work, she requested statutory vacation days for 2014. Under statutory law, employees are entitled to 24 days of paid …

Unpaid leave allows for reduced vacation entitlement Read More »

Appointment of a Conciliation Committee dealing with the subject of a No Smoking Policy

Under German law, works councils have so-called co-determination rights on certain subjects. This means that an employer must reach an agreement with the works council on these matters, such as rules and policies for employee conduct. Works council co-determination is, however, excluded if there are binding and final statutory provisions dealing with a certain matter. If no agreement can be reached through negotiations between the works council and the employer, a so-called conciliation committee will …

Appointment of a Conciliation Committee dealing with the subject of a No Smoking Policy Read More »

No co-determination rights of the works council for stock options issued by a foreign parent company

In a judgment dated 3 August 2017, the Higher Regional Labour Court of Hessen has held that a works council’s co-determination rights do not extend to stock option plans by an employer’s foreign parent company (docket number 5 TaBV 23/17).   Under German law, works councils have a co-determination right regarding remuneration principles. In this case, the foreign parent company decided annually and independently from the local employing entity whether stock options were to be …

No co-determination rights of the works council for stock options issued by a foreign parent company Read More »

Employer obligation to provide individual target agreements to safety authority

Employers may be required to provide safety authorities with information on individual target agreements with their employees. In a judgment dated 28 February 2018, the Dusseldorf administrative court confirmed a corresponding order by the local safety authority (docket number 29 K 4191/16). In the case at hand, the employer offers consulting services. It is bound by a local collective bargaining agreement which provides for a regular weekly working time of 38 hours. Under the CBA, …

Employer obligation to provide individual target agreements to safety authority Read More »

Information right of the works council independent of employee consent

According to a recent judgment by the Higher Regional Labour Court in Munich (docket number 11 TaBV 36/17) of 27 September 2017, the works council is entitled to receive information regarding the existence of pregnant employees in the operation. In the case at hand, the employer had provided employees with a right to “opt out” from forwarding the employer notification about their pregnancy to the works council. If employees objected to their information being forwarded, …

Information right of the works council independent of employee consent Read More »

Inadmissible evidence through installation of a keylogger

Using a software keylogger may not always be much help in supporting a termination for cause, as a recent case before the Federal Labour Court shows (judgment dated 27 July 2017, docket number 2 AZR 681/16). The employee had worked for the employer since 2011. When opening up its network, the company informed employees that internet and software use would be monitored. The company monitored keyboard use and also produced screenshots regularly. As a result …

Inadmissible evidence through installation of a keylogger Read More »

Revisions to the Maternity Protection Act

Recently, the German Federal Cabinet approved a draft law which will amend the Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz). According to the coalition’s plans, the reform will come into force on 1 January 2017. The key changes are: Increase of the period of protection (during which women cannot work) after the birth of a child with disabilities up to 12 weeks; Maternity leave for schoolgirls and students, and during internships; Similar level of protection throughout different professional …

Revisions to the Maternity Protection Act Read More »

Internships do not count towards the probationary period for vocational training

A previous internship will not count towards the mandatory probationary period for vocational training in order to effectively shorten the agreed probationary period (judgment of the Federal Labour Court, Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG, dated 19 November 2015, docket number 6 AZR 844/14). Traditionally, many professions in Germany require a formal vocational training program which commonly takes three years. As part of this vocational training, trainees attend school but also work in companies under a training contract. When …

Internships do not count towards the probationary period for vocational training Read More »

Reform of the German Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act

German law allows employees to go on paid parental leave in addition to mandatory paid maternity leave after childbirth. Until now, the German Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act (Bundeselterngeld- und Elternzeitgesetz, BEEG) provided for a parental allowance for a maximum duration of 12 months of paid parental leave (14 months if the other parent decides to go on parental leave as well). The allowance is paid by the state and ranges from EUR 300.00 …

Reform of the German Parental Allowance and Parental Leave Act Read More »

Notice Periods May Be Tied to Years of Service

In a judgment dated September 18, 2014, the Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) ruled that seniority-related notice periods are not discriminatory on grounds of age (docket number: 6 AZR 636/13). This judgment settles a long-term bone of contention with regard to the impact of equal treatment law on dismissal protection provisions. Sec. 622 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB) provides for statutory notice periods depending on the time of service. The statutory minimum …

Notice Periods May Be Tied to Years of Service Read More »