Saskia MacLaughlin

Bad handwriting – dismissal invalid?

The problem Bad handwriting – a problem that is of little importance in times of computers, smartphones, etc. However letters of dismissal may not be sent via mail but have to be signed by hand; therefore even in our modern times, bad handwriting can affect the invalidity of a such a notice and thus lead to a defeat in court. The plaintiff, an employee of the Berlin-Schönefeld airport , filed a lawsuit against her dismissal. This dismissal was based on her numerous absences due to illness. First, she argued, that her absence was not so severe as to justify the …

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A1-form required for business trips abroad – significant fines may apply

From January 2019, employees will now generally need to carry an A1 form whenever they are normally working in, or posted to, other EEA countries in order to avoid liability for social security contributions and potential fines. In general, an employee pays social security contributions to the country they are working in. However, employees from an EEA country working in another EEA country may continue paying social security contributions in their home country and will be exempt from paying contributions in the other countries where either: the work abroad is not expected to be for more than 24 months; or …

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Penalty clause unenforceable where non-compete obligation is invalid

If a post-contractual non-compete obligation is invalid and therefore non-binding, a penalty clause intended to protect this clause is unenforceable (judgment of the Solingen labour court dated 20 June 2017, docket number 3 Ca 153/17). The employee worked for a travel agent and had mainly sold cruises. The employee’s contract included a post-contractual non-compete obligation for the duration of three months post-termination.  After leaving the company, she joined another travel agent. Under statutory law, a non-compete obligation is not binding insofar as it does not protect the employer’s legitimate interests. A legitimate interest can exist if the non-compete aims to …

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Shortened notice period during probationary period requires clear language

German law allows a short notice period of two weeks during a probationary period, which can be agreed for up to six months. However, if the employment contract generally provides for a longer notice period, without making clear that this longer notice period only applies after the end of the probationary period, that longer notice period will also apply during the probationary period. Following this judgment by the Federal Labour Court dated 23 March 2017 (docket number: 6 AZR 705/15), employment contracts should therefore clearly specify the circumstances under which an extended notice period shall apply. In this case, the …

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Too short a notice period will not render a termination null and void

Even if an employment contract invalidly provides for a notice period of two days and the employer subsequently issues a termination with a two-day notice period, this will not render a termination null and void. The Hamm Higher Regional Labour Court (Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG) was called to rule on the validity of a termination in the context of an extraordinarily short notice period of two days during a probationary period (judgment dated January 30, 2015, docket number 1 Sa 1666/14). Generally, German law allows for a short notice period of two weeks during a probationary period of up to 6 months. …

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Use it or lose it? Can employees carry over vacation beyond March 31?

As March 31 is a key date for the expiry of holiday entitlement in Germany, we want to provide you with a short update regarding holiday entitlements under German law. Pursuant to the Federal Vacation Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz, BUrlG) every employee is entitled to a minimum of 24 paid days of vacation based on a 6 day working week. As most employees nowadays have 5 day working weeks, they are entitled to 20 days of statutory paid vacation, unless a collective bargaining agreement or the individual employment contract grants more than 20 days of paid vacation. In general, employees must take …

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