Rodrigo Weihermann

Crowd Working and the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive

On 16 April the European Parliament voted to approve the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive, which is aimed at strengthening the rights of workers and improving working conditions by promoting more transparent and predictable employment whilst ensuring labour market adaptability. The Directive applies in particular to platform workers (aka crowd workers), but also covers workers including those in casual or short-term employment, on-demand workers, intermittent workers, and voucher-based workers. Genuinely self-employed persons should not …

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Occupational health and safety standards as a limit to the employer’s right to issue instructions

The allocation of a job which does not meet the requirements of Sec. 618 para. 1 German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB) in conjunction with the public occupational health and safety standards may nevertheless correspond to the employer’s equitable discretion if it concerns only minor or short-term infringements which cannot cause lasting damage. This is what the German Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) decided in its judgement of 28 June 2018, docket number 2 AZR …

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Good news for parents? – Interpretation of social plan severance provisions

If, in a social compensation plan, the severance payment calculation is based solely on the gross monthly basic salary of a single reference month, the decisive salary of employees who work part-time in that month during their parental leave, is the gross monthly basic salary which they would have been entitled to under their employment contract if they had not been on parental leave (i.e. if they had not worked part time. This is what …

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Minimum wage increase

The statutory minimum wage increases: to 9.19 euros on 1 January 2019 and to 9.35 euros per hour on 1 January 2020. This has been decided by the minimum wage commission. The increase is higher than expected. The minimum wage is currently 8.84 euros gross per hour. Every two years, the Minimum Wage Commission (which consists of representatives of employers, unions and science) advises on adjusting the amount. . In doing so, it examines the …

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Commission adopts proposals for a European Labour Authority

The European Commission is taking more concrete new initiatives to further deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights. More specifically, the Commission has presented its proposal for a European Labour Authority, as announced by President Juncker in 2017, as well as an initiative to ensure access to social protection for all workers and self-employed. Over the last decade, the number of mobile citizens, people living and/or working in another Member State, has almost doubled …

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The Federal Constitutional Court reviews strike ban for civil servants

The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) is currently dealing with four constitutional complaints by teachers who had been punished for participating in protests and warning strikes. A judgment is expected in several months (docket numbers: 2 BvR 1738/12, 2 BvR 1395/13, 2 BvR 1068/14, 2 BvR 646/15). Under current German law, civil servants are not allowed to participate in strikes for more money and better working conditions. Civil servants fall within the scope of the so …

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Are workers in minor employment entitled to occupational pensions?

In an interesting appeal to the Federal Labour Court (docket number 3 AZR 83/16) the services trade union ver.di had been called upon by a female employee – who had originally been employed by the union Deutsche Postgewerkschaft since 1991 and had been working for the defendant since its merger with ver.di in 2001 – to obtain a pension. Since 2004, the applicant had been working in minor employment (a so called mini job or …

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Restructuring of a business in Germany – an overview

Where restructuring measures comprising collective redundancies become necessary, the employer must fulfil a number of legal requirements to successfully implement such measures. While it is sometimes tempting to implement the necessary restructuring in a way that ignores the various legal requirements (e.g. co-determination of the works council etc.), there are only exceptional situations in which such a way does not lead to a total failure of the original plan. For the employer, unlike for the …

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German Employee Boardroom Participation under European Scrutiny

On 4 May 2017, the Advocate General delivered his Opinion in the case of TUI/Erzberger (docket number: C-566/15) in front of the ECJ and found that the German provisions on employee participation do not violate European law. He has now been confirmed by the ECJ on 18 July 2017. The Higher Regional Court Berlin (Kammergericht Berlin) referred the following question to the ECJ: Do, the German provisions on employee participation conform with European Law? In …

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Dismissal Protection Act not applicable to managing directors despite employee status

While recent EU law developments on the potential employee status of managing directors (cf. ECJ, June 9, 2015, docket no. C-229/14 – Balkaya) and decisions of the German Federal Labour Court regarding the procedural issue of giving managing directors access to the Labour Courts under certain circumstances have somewhat blurred the dividing lines between managing directors and employees, a recent decision of the Higher Labour Court of Berlin-Brandenburg seems to bring some clarity to the …

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Background checks aka pre-employment screenings in Germany

Many companies refuse to settle for the information provided by the applicant on job applications and in personal interviews. So-called background checks (also known as “pre-employment screenings”) therefore enjoy great popularity among employers in the US and the UK as a measure to investigate the potential employee’s background. This screening may be conducted by the company’s own staff, or, increasingly, by third party companies that specialize in background screening. In both cases, validation of the …

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Social Media in the employment context and the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Sharing personal and work-related information on social media sites has become a prevalent practice for many employees nowadays. Likewise, social media is also used by employers as a platform to connect with the public (e.g. for employer branding and in recruitment) and to communicate within the workforce. However, both sides should be aware that the use of social media sites may potentially pose threats. Employees may share information about the employer which may lead to …

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Employee data protection – an increasingly onerous task?

In Brussels, the EU Commission, the Council and the Parliament are currently negotiating the final version of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in what is known as the trilogue discussions. Whilst there are still considerable differences between the three drafts in play one thing is sure: together with the individual fines, reputational implications for violations of data protection law will increase substantially.   The GDPR will replace the rather outdated European Data Protection Directive …

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