What happens to accumulated vacation entitlements when switching from full to part-time work?

On June 11, 2014 the Higher Labour Court of Lower Saxony (Landesarbeitsgericht – LAG) dealt with the disadvantageous recalculation of unused accrued annual vacation when switching from full-time to part-time work. In accordance with a recent decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the court held that when employees change their working hours from full-time to part-time, the amount of vacation not taken may not be adjusted in such a way that the accumulated paid vacation is reduced proportionally to the new working hours. The employee was employed full-time under an employment contract entered into in 2009. In 2010, …

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The heat is on….are employees entitled to “Hitzefrei”?

The temperature in Germany has been above 25 °C (77°F) for the past few weeks and many employees might wonder whether they are entitled to a day off due to the excessive heat (“hitzefrei” as it is called in Germany). According to Sec. 3 of the Labour Protection Act (Arbeitsschutzgesetz, ArbSchG), the employer is obligated to take the necessary measures to protect the employee’s health and safety in the workplace. If the employer is not sure which measures he is required to take, he should look into the “Technical Rules for Work Places” (Technische Regeln für Arbeitsstätten, ASR A3.5). According …

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The Ins and Outs of German Vacation Time and Vacation Pay

As we approach summer many employers start to intensify their staff’s vacation planning.  Vacation regulations in Germany are not as straightforward as many employers might think. Today’s blog therefore aims to provide a basic overview on German vacation rules for employers. How much vacation pay and time are employees entitled to? Starting off with the basics, German employment legislation already entitles an employee to a minimum vacation time after only one full month of employment. Surprisingly, the full annual vacation entitlement is gained after six consecutive months of employment. The statutory minimum amount of time off an employer must grant …

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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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Work certificates: Small change, big benefits

Until recently, on termination of employment, an employer was obliged to provide the departing employee with a work certificate (Arbeitsbescheinigung) to be presented to the employment agency. As work certificates are lengthy and can take some time to complete, this can create a major administrative burden for employers – which is often unnecessary as many employees do not apply for unemployment benefits. A welcome change to sec. 312 of the German Social Code III (Sozialgesetzbuch III, SGB III) saves employers’ time and money: Employers are now only required to complete work certificates on the request of an employee or the …

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Details of how Mrs Merkel’s new administration wants to be “Shaping Germany’s Future”

Almost three months after the general election, the biggest political parties CDU/CSU and SPD have agreed to form a joint administration under the lead of Chancellor Angela Merkel.  In a 185-page coalition agreement named “Shaping Germany`s Future”  the parties have specified their plans and contemplated actions in respect of the forthcoming legislative period. In this post we will outline the key points relating to employment and labour issues that might be relevant to your business and your daily work. However, it remains to be seen if all of these projects will be implemented in the form described in the coalition deal. …

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Christmas (bonus) is for everyone

The Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) ruled on November 13, 2013 (docket number – 10 AZR 848/12) that employers cannot validly exclude grants of special payments such as Christmas bonuses in their regulations with respect to employees whose employment ended during the calendar year, if such bonus shall not only reward company loyalty but also remunerate performed work. The court argued, that such exclusions are void, because they unreasonably deprive employees of their earned salary. Consequently, affected employees are entitled to pro-rated payments of such bonuses. Employers must therefore ensure that Christmas bonuses are exclusively granted as a reward of …

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