Labor law - Lawyer in Eschborn near Frankfurt

Do you need a lawyer for legal issues or conflicts in employment law?

Whether for employees, employers or works councils: Our law firm is your competent partner for individual employment law and collective employment law.

As lawyers, specialist lawyers and tax consultants, we provide you with comprehensive advice and representation - including in employment law.

Labor law lawyers in Eschborn near Frankfurt am Main

Your law firm for solutions in employment law

Experience & expertise

Our law firm has been advising and representing employers, employees and works councils in employment law and tax law for 20 years.

Individual solutions

We focus on your individual case and work to find the best possible solution for you - both in and out of court.

Quick help

There are no missed deadlines with us. We represent you and your interests on time and throughout Germany.

Do you need help from a specialist lawyer for employment law?

Arrange your personal appointment now. We are available for you from Monday to Friday from 09:00 - 13:00 and from 14:00 - 17:00.

Give us a call:

06173 - 318 170

or write to us using the contact form.

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Advice & representation for your rights!

By advising and representing the various parties in employment law (employees, employers, collectives), we as lawyers know the different perspectives and ways of thinking. Thanks to this experience, we are aware of the measures and steps planned by the other side and can therefore assertively represent the rights and interests of our clients.

In employment law, quick and practical solutions are required above all. The judicial route is not always the most promising, but out-of-court settlements are often the best option. With our advice and representation, you can be sure of a pragmatic approach to avert damage and get the best out of the situation.

We are at our clients' side from the start of employment to termination and beyond. We stand for fast, legally compliant and practice-oriented solutions

Lawyer for employees and employers

For employees

  • Review of employment contracts or employment references
  • Examination of warnings or dismissals
  • Legal representation in an action for unfair dismissal
  • Negotiation of lucrative termination agreements and severance payments
  • Claiming outstanding salary or vacation entitlements
  • Advice on employment law issues such as parental allowance, maternity protection, etc.

For works councils

  • Support with proceedings in the conciliation committee or before the labor court
  • Advice in the event of disruptions to works council elections
  • Strategic support in the performance of works council duties
  • Assistance with the enforcement of co-determination rights
  • Assistance with the negotiation of works agreements, reconciliation of interests and social compensation plans

For employers

  • Support with employment law measures (warning, transfer, dismissal)
  • Tactical litigation in labor court proceedings
  • Drafting employment contracts, company car or home office agreements
  • Support in dealing with the works council
  • Advice on transfer of business or purchase/sale of the company

Your help with employment law in Eschborn near Frankfurt

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Do you have questions and problems in employment law? Lawyer Esther Richter is your competent and assertive contact. Ms. Richter studied law at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg. She has been working for the law firm Haas und Kollegen in Eschborn near Frankfurt since 2015 and represents clients in employment law throughout Germany.

Continuous further training, extensive specialist knowledge and many years of experience characterize the lawyer in employment law. The interests of her clients, which she defends both in and out of court , are her top priority. Targeted and practice-oriented solutions characterize Ms. Richter.

In addition to her professional expertise, Ms. Richter attaches great importance to adherence to deadlines, good availability and rapid assistance. The advice and representation is always individual and at eye level.

Quality through further training in employment law

Contact attorney Richter:

06173 - 318 170

or write to us via the contact form.

ABC-FAQ on the subject of labor law


As part of the civil law system, employment law regulates the legal relationship between employees, employee collectives (trade unions, works councils) and employers. In this area of law, questions arise time and again which we would like to answer briefly for you in this FAQ section. Please note that there may be deviations in individual cases and that this free information does not replace individual legal advice from an experienced lawyer in employment law or a specialist lawyer for employment law. Our lawyers from Eschborn near Frankfurt am Main are available to advise you on all problems and questions in this area of law and represent your rights and interests throughout Germany, if necessary also before the labor courts.

Severance payment

When is an employee entitled to severance pay?


The entitlement to a severance payment can result from the employment contract itself. Even before the employment relationship begins, the employer and employee can agree that the employee is entitled to a severance payment in the event of leaving the company.

Employers and employees can also agree on the payment of a severance payment and stipulate this contractually in the context of dismissals for operational reasons and termination or settlement agreements. Severance payments are also frequently agreed in the context of actions for protection against dismissal.

How high is the expected severance payment as a rule?


According to Section 1a of the Dismissal Protection Act (KSchG), the rule of thumb is that the employee is paid half a month's gross salary per year of employment. This rule of thumb is often applied in both judicial and extrajudicial settlements. For example, if an employee has been with the company for eight years, they are entitled to eight half-monthly salaries, i.e. four full salaries, as compensation for their dismissal.


What can an employer warn an employee about?


The employer can issue a warning to the employee for various reasons that constitute a breach of the employment contract. The most common reasons for a warning are refusal to work, poor performance, lateness, insulting superiors, employees or customers, breach of sickness reporting regulations and bullying by colleagues.

Is a verbal warning valid?


As a general rule, a verbal warning is also valid and can be noted in the personnel file, even if the written warning has established itself as the standard form in most sectors. As with the written warning, the employee must be given a precise description of the conduct for which the warning was issued, including the date and time of the misconduct. The misconduct must constitute a clear breach of contract.

As with the written warning, the verbal warning must be issued within six months of the conduct for which the warning was issued. It is usually issued in the presence of witnesses and then also recorded in writing. However, neither is necessary for the warning to be valid, but serves as proof that it has been issued.

When is a warning ineffective?


A warning is ineffective if, in retrospect, the employee has not breached an obligation under the employment contract. Even if the breach is relatively minor, a warning may be disproportionate and therefore ineffective.

Furthermore, the warning itself must meet certain requirements in order to be effective. The employer must reprimand the employee for a specific breach of duty, call on the employee to behave in accordance with the contract in future and indicate to the employee that the continuation of the misconduct jeopardizes the continued existence of the employment relationship, i.e. threaten him with dismissal in the event of recurrence. This must be done within up to six months of the warned incident.

(When) does a warning expire?


If a warning is lawful and not subsequently unlawful, it remains in the personnel file. There is no statute of limitations or similar. However, the longer it takes for a warning to be assessed by the labor court, the less significant it becomes.

Cancellation agreement

All information on the termination agreement


You can find a lot of legal and tax information on termination agreements as well as a FAQ on the subject on our page:
Termination agreement in employment law"

Temporary employment

What does temporary employment mean?


The term temporary employment is used synonymously with the terms temporary work, employee leasing, personnel leasing or temporary work. Temporary employment always exists when the employee is hired out as a temporary worker by his employer (the temporary employment agency) to another employer as a third party (the hirer) for a certain limited period of time in return for payment.

Who is my employer in the case of a temporary employment agency?


The employer is the lender, i.e. the company with which the employee has concluded their actual employment contract, not the hirer, i.e. the third party to whom the employee is leased. The lender assumes the rights and obligations of the employer.

What are my rights in temporary employment?


In principle, temporary workers have the same rights as other employees. They are also entitled to information about the main working conditions applicable to comparable employees in the hirer's company. This also includes pay. The employer (hirer) must pay social security contributions, continue to pay wages even in the event of illness and also comply with the laws and regulations on protection against dismissal.

How long can I be employed by a company as a temporary employee?


Since 2017, you may not work for the same company (hirer) for more than 18 consecutive months in a temporary employment agency. At least 3 months must then elapse before the respective temporary worker is re-employed at the same workplace. After these 3 months, the 18-month period begins again.

However, longer deployment periods can also be regulated in collective agreements or works agreements. It is also possible to override these deadlines by regularly rotating temporary workers. At least 3 months must elapse between assignments of the respective temporary worker at the same workplace.

When does the hirer have to take me on from the temporary employment agency?


Since 2017, the maximum assignment period for an employee to a hirer has been 18 months. If you work for a hirer for longer than 18 months at a time, the hirer must either employ you or terminate the assignment of you to their company.

If you are de facto employed by the hirer for longer than 18 months, an employment relationship is automatically deemed to have been established unless you submit a declaration of retention in due form and time.

Accident at work

When is an accident at work?


Contrary to popular belief, accidents at work can not only happen directly at the employee's workplace. You are also covered by statutory accident insurance if you have an accident while carrying out voluntary work, caring for a relative in their home or providing assistance after a traffic accident.

Accidents on the way to or from work, as well as for the purpose of carrying out your work, are also covered by the insurance. Not only the direct route is insured, but also certain detours can be covered by accident insurance. For example, a parent who drops their children off at nursery on the way to work is also insured.

Can I go to my family doctor if I have an accident at work?


After an accident at work, you cannot simply ask your family doctor to write you off sick. You must consult a so-called accident insurance association doctor (D-Arzt). This is a doctor who is licensed to provide treatment by the employers' liability insurance association and is therefore appointed by the employers' liability insurance association. The D-doctor is often a specialist in surgery and/or orthopaedics.

How high is the expected injury benefit and how long will I receive it?


The injury benefit you receive as a result of an accident at work is generally paid for the period of your need for treatment, i.e. your incapacity for work. It therefore ends on the last day of your treatment or incapacity for work. The payment of injury benefit is generally limited to a maximum of 78 weeks.

The amount of the injury benefit is determined in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Security Code, specifically § 47 SGB VII. According to these provisions, the amount of the injury benefit corresponds to at least 80% of the employee's regular pay and may not exceed the net pay.

Is my family provided for after a fatal accident at work?


In the event of a fatal accident at work, the employers' liability insurance association will pay your relatives a death grant and survivors' benefits, which include, for example, a widow's/widower's pension and an orphan's pension.

Employment contract

Which points must be regulated in the employment contract?


Your employment contract must contain a precise job description, a list of salary and special payments, your working hours, your place of work and any clauses on local relocation, a regulation for your overtime, notice periods and exclusion clauses for you as an employer.

Is a verbal job offer binding?


In principle, a verbal job offer is binding, as German employment law does not require this to be in writing. However, it is advisable to make sure that you have discussed and agreed on all of the above points.

This does not apply if the commitment was only made with reservations, for example if the approval of another manager is still required. It is also important that you can prove the verbal job promise. The burden of proof lies with the employee. If you have already started the job and are employed by the employer, this constitutes such proof.

When does a fixed-term employment contract become a permanent employment contract?


A fixed-term employment contract always becomes permanent if you agree this with the employer. In addition, an open-ended employment relationship is automatically created if the employer can no longer claim any objective reason for a fixed-term contract and continues to employ you. It is sufficient for the maximum duration of the fixed term to be exceeded by one day.

How long can an employment contract be limited in time?


An employment contract may be limited to a maximum of two years if there is no objective reason. During this period, the fixed term can be extended three times. If you signed an employment contract for a fixed term of one year when you started work, this fixed term can be extended by another year, for example. A further time limit is then no longer possible and the employer can terminate the employment contract or must take you on for an indefinite period.

Refusal to work

At what point can we speak of refusal to work?


If you have a bad day at work and do less than usual, this does not yet constitute a refusal to work in the legal sense. This is only the case if you deliberately fail to fulfill the duties agreed in your employment contract or if you disobey direct instructions from your superior.

When can I be dismissed for refusing to work?


Only if there are particularly serious breaches of the employee's duties can the employer terminate the employment contract without notice or without prior warning. An example of this is the so-called "persistent refusal to work". This occurs when the employee deliberately shows no willingness to follow their superior's instructions over the long term.

An extraordinary termination or termination without notice can also be legally implemented if the employee's refusal to work leads to serious damage to the company.

When can I refuse to work?


There are certainly constellations in which you may refuse to work without having to fear consequences such as a warning or dismissal. These include instructions from your boss that violate the law or even incite you to commit crimes, instructions that violate your (religious) beliefs or instructions that are unreasonable for you personally. This is the case, for example, if your health may suffer as a result of the instruction.

You may also temporarily refuse to work for an important doctor's appointment or to look after your child at short notice. If you are taking part in a strike, for example to obtain better working conditions, you are also permitted by law to stop working at the company during this time.

Refusal to work

Is Sunday work prohibited or permitted?


Working on Sundays is generally prohibited in Germany in accordance with Section 9 (1) of the Working Hours Act (ArbZG). The employment contract states exactly how long your working week is. As a rule, this is specified as Monday to Saturday and the employee may not be required to work on Sundays.

There are only a few exceptions to this, such as hospitals or catering businesses, whose activities typically also have to be carried out on a Sunday. Outside of these activities, working on Sundays requires a statutory order or approval from a supervisory authority.

Does an employee have to be available for the employer in their free time?


In principle, Section 1 of the Working Hours Act (ArbZG) stipulates that employees do not have to answer the telephone in their free time, as everyone has the right to take a break from work. This is firmly anchored in German labor law. Exceptions to this rule are, for example, on-call medical services or activities on call.

How many days in a row are you allowed to work?


Employees who are not permitted to work on Sundays in their area of activity are automatically permitted to work on a maximum of six consecutive days. In cases where Sunday work is permitted, employees may be required to work for a maximum of twelve or thirteen consecutive days, depending on the sector. After that, a rest day is prescribed by law.

What is the maximum number of hours an employee may work per day?


The maximum working time for a working day is eight hours. These working days also include Sunday, which results in a maximum weekly working time of 48 hours.

The daily working time may only be extended to up to ten hours a day if the employee's average working time does not exceed 48 hours over a period of 24 weeks. For activities with a high volume of on-call duty or standby duty, the working time may also be extended to more than ten hours in one day.

Job reference

Does the employer automatically have to issue a reference when I leave the company?


In principle, the employer is legally obliged to issue the employee with a reference, especially when the employment relationship ends. However, this does not happen automatically. The employee must expressly request the reference from their employer.

What is the difference between a qualified and a simple reference?


In contrast to the simple reference, the qualified reference contains personal and evaluative comments on your commitment and social behavior in the workplace in addition to evidence of your performance and its evaluation during your employment.

We therefore recommend that you have a qualified reference issued, as this is more comprehensive and has a higher value in general business dealings.

What can I do if I am not satisfied with the reference I have received?


It is important that you don't just accept a bad reference straight away. Individual formulations or an inappropriate assessment can ultimately significantly reduce your success in applying for a new job.

If you are not satisfied with your reference, your first step should be to talk to the HR department or your boss. An open discussion can often have a clarifying effect, is unbureaucratic and can already lead to the desired changes in the reference. If the direct approach is unsuccessful, it is important that you submit a written objection directly. In your letter of objection, you should specifically point out the wording with which you are dissatisfied and suggest alternative wording. Only as a final step should you take legal action. However, it is important to do this within three weeks of receiving the reference, as otherwise the deadline for a so-called action to rectify the reference will expire.

Can sick days be explicitly mentioned in the reference?


According to current case law, sick days or other information about the duration of an incapacity to work should only be included in the reference in special individual cases. As a rule, this also applies in the case of long-term illness.

In principle, the relationship between sick days and the duration of the employee's employment plays a role for the labor courts. Only if the duration of the incapacity to work has reached a significant level or is essential for the employee's assessment basis may sick days be listed in the reference.

Works Council

What is a works council and (when) is it legally required for a company?


The works council is the institution for employee representation in companies. The works council is a co-determination body that represents the interests of employees in company and personnel decisions.

In principle, a works council can be elected in any company with five or more "permanent employees entitled to vote" in accordance with Section 1 of the Works Constitution Act (BetrVG). Regardless of whether it is a small company, a medium-sized company or a group, it is not the duty of the company management to initiate the establishment of a works council. There is therefore no obligation for companies to have a works council. However, the establishment of a works council is an important right of a company's employees and must be accepted by the company management.

When must the works council be informed and when can it help me?


The works council must be informed by the company management as a whole on the basis of decisions by the Federal Constitutional Court with regard to various (personnel) decisions and strategic considerations with decision-making maturity. In legal terms, this is referred to as the works council's right to information.

Classic examples that could be relevant for employees are

  • Recruitment of new employees,
  • Remuneration,
  • Termination,
  • Personnel planning,
  • Occupational safety and accident prevention
  • and social matters of the company.

In this case, it makes sense for the employee to be informed by the works council. In addition, the works council can specifically protect and enforce the interests of the employee - for example with regard to a salary increase to which the employee is entitled under the collective agreement - before the management.

Company closure

What is a plant closure?


A business closure, often also referred to as a plant shutdown, is the final abandonment of the purpose of the business, in the context of which the organization of the business is dissolved at the same time. A business is considered to be a spatial and organizational unit. A classic example of a plant closure is a production plant or a branch in a particular city that is closed by the company management. A business closure does not necessarily mean the insolvency or closure of an entire company.

Does a business closure automatically lead to termination?


In principle, a business closure is a permissible reason for dismissal for operational reasons, as the closure of a business is an "urgent operational requirement". Nevertheless, these dismissals are often legally contestable. You should therefore not accept them without further ado, as there may be a chance of longer pay, a higher severance payment or keeping your job.

If your business is only being closed temporarily, is being sold, is still in the planning phase or is being closed in several stages, you have a realistic chance of successfully taking legal action against the dismissal. Employers often dismiss employees too early, even if the dismissal is justified for operational reasons. With the help of a lawyer specializing in employment law, you can achieve the payment of further salaries or longer employment with the company.

Am I entitled to a severance payment in the event of a company closure?


No, in principle there is no entitlement. The employer can decide whether or not to pay severance pay. However, in the event of a company closure, there are three common constellations in which this may not be the case:

  • If the company has several branches or (production) sites, employees from the closed plant may be allocated to other sites as part of the social plan and remain with the company. However, the works council can also negotiate attractive severance payments for employees who do not wish to change location or company as part of the social plan.
  • If the company does not have a works council, a social plan cannot be negotiated by the employees. As a result, a severance payment can only be agreed in individual negotiations between you and the employer. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice here!
  • Pursuant to Section 1a KSchG, the employer can undertake to pay a severance payment if the dismissal is structured precisely in accordance with these legal requirements.

We have summarized further information on employee rights in the event of a business closure in a legal tip:
Business closure - What rights does the employee have?

Parental leave

Who is entitled to parental leave?


In principle, every parent is entitled to parental leave. This serves to care for and raise the child until it reaches the age of three. Parental leave is a legally defined entitlement of the employee vis-à-vis the employer.

As a rule, parents who are not in employment are not entitled to parental leave. These include housewives and househusbands, students without a job, school pupils, unemployed people, volunteers and those completing a voluntary ecological or social year.

How long do I have to apply for parental leave in advance?


You must apply for parental leave at least seven weeks before it begins. For mothers on maternity leave, this means that they must submit their application for parental leave to their employer within one week of the birth. If fathers want to take parental leave immediately after the birth of their child, they should base their application on the expected date of birth.

As a rule, you should generally speak to your employer in advance; they are often flexible in adjusting your parental leave, even if the actual date of birth does not correspond to the calculated date. In urgent cases, such as the premature birth of a child, shorter deadlines apply for an application for parental leave. In this case, you should simply apply for parental leave as soon as possible.

Is it possible for self-employed people to take parental leave?


Yes, self-employed people can also take parental leave. However, they must ensure that their company still fulfills the existing contractual obligations. If there are no such obligations, the activity can usually simply be suspended. If such obligations exist, you must ensure that they are fulfilled, for example by commissioning a subcontractor or hiring staff. It is also possible to work part-time during parental leave, up to an average of 30 hours per week per month.

Can I interrupt my parental leave?


In general, you can always apply for parental leave in one go or split it into two periods. If you wish to split your leave into more than two periods, you should inform your employer when you apply for parental leave.

If you wish to end your parental leave prematurely, you must usually agree this with your employer, who must approve your request. However, you can also interrupt your parental leave if you become pregnant again during your parental leave and wish to go on maternity leave. There are also special cases of hardship in which you can also apply for early termination of your parental leave. These include, for example, serious illness, disability or the death of a parent or child.

Can my employer dismiss me during parental leave?


In general, your employer may only dismiss you during your parental leave in exceptional cases, as you are particularly protected against dismissal by law during this time. This special protection against dismissal begins when you register your parental leave, at the earliest one week before the start of the registration period.

Cases in which this special protection against dismissal does not apply are, for example, the insolvency of your employer, the closure of a business or the closure of a business and in the event of a particular breach of duty by the parent who is to be dismissed.

Parental allowance

What is parental allowance and who can receive it?


Parental allowance is a transfer payment that you receive from the state as compensation for disadvantages in the early phase of starting a family. It is based on your net income and is limited in time.

As a parent, you are entitled to parental allowance if you can no longer work or can no longer work full-time due to caring for your child or if you interrupt your employment for this purpose. Unemployed people also receive parental allowance. In order to receive parental allowance, you must live in the same household as your child.

How is parental allowance calculated?


Instead of using the average net income as a flat rate, the parental allowance office calculates its own standard income, which serves as the basis for the calculation. This involves deducting fixed lump sums for taxes and social security contributions from the average gross income of the last twelve months before the birth of the child. In addition, an annual employee lump sum of 1,000 euros is applied. The result is the basis for calculation.

Depending on how high the calculation basis is, the applicant receives between 65 and 100% of this. The lower the calculation basis, the higher the percentage. There is the following rough scale

Over €1,240 = 65%
Between €1,000 and €1,200 = 67%
Between €300 and €1,000 = 67% + 0.1% for every €2 below €1,000.

Accordingly, anyone with a calculation basis of 340 euros or less receives the 100% rate.

Are self-employed people entitled to parental allowance?


Contrary to older regulations and the widespread assumption, self-employed persons are also entitled to parental allowance, which is based on their previous income, as is the case with permanent employees.

As a self-employed person, you also receive 65% of your net salary or net profit for up to 14 months. Important: The parental allowance for self-employed persons is at least 300 euros and a maximum of 1,800 euros per month.

Employer's duty of care

What duty(s) of care does the employer have?


The employment contract not only gives rise to performance obligations on the part of the employee, but also various duties of care on the part of the employer. These serve to protect the interests of employees. These duties include the duties of protection and care, which ensure the protection of health at the place of work and at work, and the duty to provide information, according to which an employer must inform its employees of all circumstances that are necessary for them to carry out their work.

The employer's duty of care increases in particular if he employs employees who are more worthy of protection than normal, such as pregnant women, young people or the disabled.

When does an employer breach its duty of care?


A breach of the duty of care occurs when the employer does not fulfill either their duty of protection and care or their duty to provide information. This may be the case if there are no suitable occupational health and safety measures in place in the company or if the employees have not been sufficiently informed about the risks to their health while performing their work.

Trade unions

What does union membership mean for me?


As an employee association, the trade union represents your interests and performs the following specific services and tasks for you:

The trade union concludes inter-company collective agreements, which generally only apply to your members. As your representative, the trade union conducts negotiations with the employer in your interests. It may be able to do this more effectively as it unites many employees and can therefore increase its negotiating power vis-à-vis the employer or an employers' association. The trade union also organizes strikes or other measures to fight for wages.

Can the employer ask me if I belong to a trade union?


German labor law deliberately protects the anonymity of trade union members from reprisals by the employer. It is therefore important that the employer has no general right to ask about your trade union membership, either before the employment relationship or during your employment with the company.

Only in a few individual cases, where there is a justified objective interest, may the employer ask about your membership of a trade union. These are rarely the case in everyday employment law. If you have any doubts about your specific situation, we recommend that you seek legal advice.

Liability in the workplace

Who is liable for my mistakes in the workplace?


In the Federal Republic of Germany, the general rule is that the person who causes damage is liable for it. However, this principle only applies to a limited extent in the workplace. With regard to liability for errors or mishaps in the workplace, the rule of internal damage compensation applies in Germany. This takes account of the fact that, for example, major material damage can occur much more quickly in production if a machine is operated incorrectly than is the case in office jobs. According to this regulation, an employee can only be held personally liable for damage in exceptional cases and according to the severity of their mistakes - and generally only very rarely to the full amount.

When am I liable for my own mistakes in the workplace?


Specifically, employees can never be held liable for damage caused by "human error", i.e. errors that could happen to anyone. Employees must assume a share of the damage if they have caused damage with at least moderate negligence. As a rule, employees are liable for damages in full if they have either deliberately and intentionally caused damage or have acted with gross negligence, for example if they have caused an accident with their company car while heavily intoxicated. However, in the case of excessive amounts of damage, the courts regularly set a limit based on gross income - at least in the case of gross negligence.


How do I call in sick properly?


As an employee, you are generally obliged to report your incapacity for work and its expected duration immediately. It is best to report sick directly in the morning, i.e. before you start work and visit the doctor at your company. You should report sick via a channel through which you can reach your employer directly. This can be by telephone or e-mail. The post is not suitable for this.

When can I call in sick?


In general, you may call in sick if you are unable to carry out your work to its full extent and there is an illness. This may already be the case if you have a severe headache that would prevent you from carrying out your work.

Do I have to go straight to the doctor to report sick?


In principle and in accordance with the statutory regulations, you must submit a doctor's certificate in the event of illness that is expected to last longer than three days in order to meet your obligation to provide evidence of this. This should be submitted to the employer by the fourth day of your illness at the latest. In principle, however, the employer can also request the "yellow slip" in advance. It can also be agreed in the employment contract that such proof must be submitted on the first day of illness.

(When) do I have to inform my employer about an illness?


This depends on the specific illness. If the employer has a special duty of care due to the illness, they can of course only fulfill this duty if they are aware of the illness. In particular, if the illness has an impact on the workplace, there is a duty to inform. This is the case, for example, with infectious diseases or if there is a risk of contamination in the production of food, for example with salmonella.

Am I entitled to my salary if I call in sick?


The Continued Remuneration Act (EntFG) regulates whether your employer must continue to pay your salary if you report sick. According to § 3, you as an employee are entitled to have your employer continue to pay you your full salary for up to six weeks if you are unable to work through no fault of your own.

If you are unable to work through no fault of your own, you are also entitled to continued payment of your salary. This means that if you are ill or unable to work, your employer must continue to pay your salary for up to six weeks.

What is the maximum length of time I can be on sick leave?


As a general rule, the period of sick leave should not exceed two weeks. However, this does not mean that you have to go straight back to work if you are still ill. If you have not fully recovered after this period, you will have to take another sick note. The doctor will decide on the full continuous length of your incapacity for work.

Can I go to work despite being off sick?


As it is possible that a doctor's prognosis will not prove correct and you will recover before the end of the sick leave period, you can return to work as soon as you have recovered. Accordingly, sick leave should not be seen as a ban on working for a certain period of time.


Is a verbal termination valid?


A termination - regardless of whether it is a termination with or without notice by the employer - is only legally effective if it is also issued in writing by the employer. Although a notice of termination can be given verbally, it is only effective and leads to the termination of the employment relationship in accordance with Section 623 of the German Civil Code (BGB) if it is subsequently given in writing.

Can I give notice before starting a new job?


It is generally possible for you to give notice before the start of a new employment relationship so that you do not have to start the new job. However, this is only the case if you give notice in good time so that your notice period ends before your first day of work. However, if your notice period ends after the first working day, the employer can still insist that you work until the effective date of termination. However, you should take particular care to ensure that no corresponding contractual penalty clause has been included in your employment contract.

What is an ordinary termination and what is an extraordinary termination?


The difference here lies in the time at which the termination takes effect. Ordinary termination means that your employment relationship only ends at the end of the notice period. Extraordinary termination, also known as termination without notice, takes effect immediately.

There are also differences with regard to a necessary reason for termination. Termination without notice is only justified if the employer cannot reasonably be expected to maintain the employment relationship until the end of the ordinary notice period, taking into account the interests of both parties.

How long is the statutory notice period?


It depends on who is giving notice. For the employee, the statutory notice period is regulated in Section 622 (1) of the German Civil Code (BGB) and, according to the wording, is four weeks. It is important to note that this is not one month, but 28 days. This period always applies to you, unless you have agreed a longer period with your employer.

According to § 622 Para. 2 BGB, other deadlines apply to the employer. These are staggered depending on the length of service. They vary between one and seven months.

Short-time allowance

How much is short-time work compensation?


The short-time working allowance, KUG for short, is calculated on the basis of your net salary as an employee and amounts to 60 percent of this. If you have one or more children, you are entitled to 67 percent of your net salary.

How long can I receive short-time allowance?


Whether and for how long you receive short-time working allowance depends largely on your employer's business situation. In times of the corona crisis, companies that have started short-time work by December 31, 2020 may extend it for up to 24 months according to current resolutions of the Federal Government, with the last possible date being December 31, 2021.

The seasonal short-time allowance (SKUG), which applies to the main construction industry, can be applied for from December to March inclusive, i.e. for the so-called bad weather period.

Wage / Salary

What is the statutory minimum wage?


The statutory minimum wage in Germany is currently €9.35 per hour, which corresponds to €1,577.00 per month for a full-time job. In an employment relationship, you are entitled to this minimum payment. The amount of the minimum wage will increase in stages on 01.01. and 01.07. until 2022 to €10.45.

The minimum wage also depends on the sector. In the main construction industry, this is currently 12.55 euros per hour in wage group 1 (unskilled workers). (as of November 2020)

Can the future employer ask me about my current salary?


From a purely legal point of view, your employer is not allowed to ask you about your previous salary. In theory, the recruiter conducting a job interview is also not allowed to ask you directly about your previous or current salary.

However, there is an exception if the income allows conclusions to be drawn about the work performance, for example because the remuneration is customary in the industry on a commission basis.

Is there a legal right to a salary increase?


In principle, you are not entitled to a salary increase, as the salary is negotiated individually between the employer and the employee. Even if this seems unfair in many cases, this is the legal situation.

However, there are exceptions if a collective agreement or a works agreement is in place that stipulates a special remuneration system that provides for a salary increase. If there is systematic unequal treatment of employees, for example better or worse treatment due to gender or skin color, the legally defined prohibition of discrimination also applies. In addition, the salary must of course not be below the minimum wage. If the minimum wage is adjusted by law, you are entitled to the increase.

(When) may my salary be reduced?


When it comes to salary cuts, it is important that they are not arbitrary and at the whim of the boss. Even a bad day at work or a failed PowerPoint presentation is not enough to simply reduce your salary.

The situation is different if you have made gross mistakes at work or have performed poorly or not at all over a longer period of time. In this case, your salary may be reduced - if necessary after consultation with the works council. Another exception is if a company is demonstrably in an economic emergency.

Maternity protection

When do I have to report a pregnancy to my employer?


There is no law that obliges you to inform your employer of your pregnancy by a certain deadline. Nevertheless, you should notify your employer in good time, as the employer can only fulfill its duty of care if it is informed of your pregnancy.

In particular, if there is a ban on work for pregnant women, the continued performance of the job may endanger or even harm the child. So if you work as a craftswoman, your employer may ask you if you are pregnant and you should answer truthfully.

Even if there is no deadline for reporting a pregnancy, we recommend that you inform your boss in good time for reasons of fairness.

Do I automatically have protection against dismissal during pregnancy and for how long does this apply?


By law, pregnant women may not be dismissed during their entire pregnancy and up to four months after the birth of their child (Section 9 of the Maternity Protection Act). This protection against dismissal also applies during the probationary period.

If the employer was not informed of the pregnancy and therefore terminates your employment, you can counter this termination by informing them of your pregnancy within a period of two weeks. If you only find out about your pregnancy after this period has expired, you can still notify the employer immediately after becoming aware of it. In this respect, there is an extended deadline.

Do new conditions apply to me at work in the event of pregnancy?


In this case, your employer may no longer expect you to carry out any tasks that place too much physical strain on you or even endanger the well-being of your unborn child as part of their duty of care and the associated duties of protection and care. Your job profile may have to be adjusted accordingly and you may then be allowed to carry out office work instead of physically strenuous work.

When does a ban on employment apply to pregnant women?


In principle, the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) stipulates a fixed period of six weeks before the expected date of birth and up to eight weeks after the birth as a ban on employment. During this period, the pregnant woman or new mother must be released from work.

In addition, there is a general ban on employment for certain activities and for high-risk pregnancies.

Secondary employment

What is a secondary occupation?


A secondary occupation is an occupation for which you receive remuneration and which you carry out alongside your main occupation. This includes, for example, self-employment alongside your job or so-called 450 euro jobs.

When am I allowed to carry out secondary employment?


In principle, you may always carry out a secondary occupation if it demonstrably does not negatively affect your main occupation. This applies to both your performance and the working time(s).

Do I need my employer's permission to work part-time?


Many employment contracts include the obligation to notify your employer of any secondary employment, which you should also comply with. However, this is a duty of disclosure, so permission from your employer is not mandatory.

However, if your employment contract contains a clause that obliges you to inform your employer before accepting secondary employment, this must be linked to specific conditions with regard to the secondary employment. In this case, you must ask for permission.

Can my employer prohibit me from working part-time?


A blanket ban on secondary employment in the employment contract is not permitted by law and is therefore null and void.

This does not apply to activities for which your employer can justifiably assume that these will jeopardize your main employment in some way. In this case, the employer's consent is required in advance if there is appropriate wording in the employment contract. Even if your employer's legitimate interests are affected, they may prohibit the secondary employment, for example if you want to work for a competitor company.


Am I entitled to breaks during my working hours and how long do they have to be?


If you work between six and nine hours, as an employee you are entitled to a 30-minute break. If you work more than nine hours, you are entitled to a break of at least 45 minutes. If you work less than six hours a day, you are not entitled to a break.

Who sets my break time?


As a rule, your employer determines when you have a break as part of their right to issue instructions. These breaks are usually fixed in advance. It is also possible that the employer merely specifies a time frame in which the break is to be taken (e.g. 30-minute break between 12 noon and 2 p.m.). Similarly, in appropriate circumstances, the employer may, in accordance with Section 4 of the Working Hours Act (ArbZG), use its right to issue instructions to specify longer breaks than the legally prescribed 30 or 45 minutes if circumstances require this.

Is going to the toilet a break?


In principle, a normal trip to the toilet, provided it takes place outside your break time, does not count as part of your break and is not generally regarded as an interruption to your working time. Even if you spend a long time on the toilet, an employer's mere suspicion is not enough to deduct this from your working time.

Is there a legal right to smoking breaks?


There is no legal entitlement to smoking breaks. Legally, you are only entitled to recreational breaks during work, which you can also use as a smoking break. It is therefore important to know what your employer stipulates for you as a smoker.

Companies are often accommodating to smokers and most corporate cultures have engaged with the need to smoke. However, a smoking break that is not permitted or a smoking break that takes place, for example, when you should actually be attending to an important task, constitutes a breach of duty on your part towards the employer. Such behavior is subject to a warning.

Trial period

What does trial period mean?


The probationary period, which allows the employer and employee to get to know and assess each other better, is accompanied by a shortened notice period. This means that both parties can flexibly terminate the employment relationship during this period with just two weeks' notice.

How long is the statutory probationary period?


There is no statutory probationary period in employment law. According to Section 622 (3) BGB, a probationary period can be agreed for a maximum of 6 months. The employer may not set a longer probationary period, but may set a shorter one at any time.

However, there is one exception with regard to apprenticeships. According to § 20 BBiG, a probationary period is mandatory. This must last at least one month and may not exceed four months.

Can I negotiate the length of my probationary period with the employer in advance?


Yes, you can negotiate the probationary period in advance. How this is ultimately stated in your contract depends on your agreement with the employer. The company's personnel policy plays a major role here, as this often corresponds to the maximum possible probationary period of six months.

Are there also employment contracts without a probationary period?


Yes, these can arise either because a possible clause in the contract has been forgotten or because the employer or employee deliberately wanted them. In this case, the notice period shortened to two weeks does not apply to either party.

Can my employer dismiss me during my probationary period without a reason?


Yes, you can be dismissed without cause during your probationary period. In this case, however, we advise you to ask for the reason in order to have certainty yourself and to be able to uncover any circumstances that show that the termination was unlawful.

Legal aid in employment law

What is legal aid and who can claim it?


Legal aid is financial support that is available in Germany to those in need in order to be able to conduct court proceedings. You can receive this as both plaintiff and defendant if you meet the requirements set out in §114 ff of the Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO). This means that you cannot bear the costs of court proceedings yourself, or can only bear some of them. The action must also have a reasonable prospect of success. You can also apply for legal aid for proceedings before the labor court.

How do I obtain legal aid?


You or your lawyer must apply for legal aid from the court (responsible for the case). To do this, you must fill out an application that provides the court with a comprehensive picture of your financial situation and proves your financial need. The court will also require you to submit comprehensive documents such as a payslip and various supporting documents relevant to your individual financial situation. After examining your application, the court will then decide whether you are entitled to legal aid.

What are the potential risks for me if I make use of legal aid?


Although the granting of legal aid protects you from various costs incurred, it does not protect you from having to pay the costs of the opposing lawyer, for example, if you lose the case in the second instance, i.e. the regional labor court.

The court is also entitled to review your financial situation on an ongoing basis for up to four years after the end of the proceedings. If your financial situation improves, this may mean that you either have to pay installments on the legal costs incurred or pay higher installments than before.

Employer's rights and obligations

What are the employer's rights vis-à-vis the employee?


The employer has the right vis-à-vis the employee to ensure that the employee fulfills his or her work obligations, i.e. performs the tasks defined in the employment contract for him or her accordingly. Furthermore, the employer has the right to issue instructions to the employee. This means that the employer can determine and / or specify the nature and scope of the employee's work performance.

What are the employer's obligations towards the employee?


The employer has a duty to its employees to pay their wages/salary, pay social security contributions and taxes, deploy the employee in accordance with the employment contract, approve their leave and provide them with work equipment, as well as the so-called duty of care. Furthermore, the employer also has a duty to ensure data protection for its employees.

Employee rights and obligations

What rights does the employee have vis-à-vis the employer?


In general, the employee's rights are derived from the employer's obligations. These include the punctual and full payment of wages/salary, continued payment of wages in the event of illness or an accident at work, a minimum number of vacation days per year, protection against discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace and compliance with occupational health and safety regulations as well as employment in the contractually agreed activity or, if applicable, an equivalent activity.

What obligations does the employee have towards the employer?


The employee's obligations towards the employer arise from the employer's rights towards the employee. These include the obligation to work - the content of the work is defined in the employment contract - and the obligation to follow the employer's instructions.

Pseudo self-employment

When does bogus self-employment exist?


Two criteria must be met for bogus self-employment. The self-employed person does not employ any employees subject to compulsory insurance and works permanently for a client whose orders provide him with at least 5/6 of his turnover.

Confidentiality / Duty of confidentiality

Who is subject to a duty of confidentiality or non-disclosure under employment law?


The duty of confidentiality is required of employees in various professions today and is either stipulated in the employment contract or, as in the case of priests or doctors and lawyers, even expressly regulated in employment law and via their code of ethics. In a narrower sense, the duty of confidentiality or duty of secrecy means that you as an employee may not pass on any or certain knowledge or secrets relating to your work activities to third parties. This applies in particular to personal data of patients or customers, but also to business transactions that may affect the interests of your employer, such as the supplier and customer base, protected production processes, etc.

What happens if I breach my duty of confidentiality?


Depending on the severity of the violation, a breach of the duty of confidentiality or non-disclosure may not only result in a warning or dismissal by the employer, but may even result in claims for damages, fines or a prison sentence of up to one year.

When can I be released from my duty of confidentiality?


Under certain circumstances, you can be released from your duty of confidentiality or your obligation to maintain secrecy. This is the case, for example, if the person concerned explicitly authorizes this in writing or if you have a legal obligation to provide information. Furthermore, a "justifiable emergency" may arise, which represents an extreme case such as the announcement of a criminal offense.

Social selection

What is social selection?


In the case of redundancies for operational reasons, the employer must carry out a social selection of employees in accordance with statutory criteria to determine who may remain in the company and who may be dismissed.

What criteria must be checked by the employer when making a social selection?


In the event of a planned staff reduction, the employer must make a selection of employees who are compared from a social point of view. By law, this selection must be made according to the following criteria:

  1. Length of service with the company,
  2. Age,
  3. Maintenance obligations of the employee and
  4. age or the presence of a (severe) disability.

The employer's specific procedure is to first make a selection of employees who are in the area of the company in which staff must be reduced for operational reasons and then compare them on the basis of the above criteria. To do this, employers often use a points system that assigns certain scores to the individual criteria and determines which employees are most and least worthy of protection based on the total score.

When must a social selection be carried out?


A social selection must always be carried out if the employer wishes to dismiss one or more employees for operational reasons and these fall under the Dismissal Protection Act (KSchG), e.g. in the case of so-called mass dismissals.

This is often neglected in practice. Therefore, if you are affected by a dismissal for operational reasons, always check whether you are "the right person" and whether an appropriate social selection has been carried out. If you have any doubts, we strongly recommend that you seek employment law expertise.

Collective agreement

What is the difference between a collective agreement and a normal employment contract?


The classic employment contract is concluded between the employee and the employer. The collective agreement is between the trade union that represents you and other employees in negotiations and the employer or an employers' association. The provisions of the collective agreement apply directly to your individual employment contract.

What is regulated by a collective agreement?


Like the individual employment contract, the collective agreement also regulates rights and obligations, in this case for the parties to the collective agreement, i.e. the members of the trade union and the employer or the employers' association to which it belongs. The collective agreement regulates wages and salaries, working hours and other working conditions for you as an employee within an industry or company.

Can a collective agreement put me in a worse position than an individual employment contract?


No. If you have a provision in your employment contract that is more favorable to you than the one negotiated in the collective agreement, for example a higher salary, the individual provision usually applies.

When am I bound by a collective agreement?


You are bound by a collective agreement if you as an employee are a member of the trade union that concluded the collective agreement, your employer has concluded the collective agreement with the trade union itself or is part of the concluding employers' association.

Can I be bound by a collective agreement without being a member of a trade union?


Yes, this is often done through so-called "reference clauses" in the employment contract. These mean that the relevant provisions of the collective agreement also apply to your employment relationship, regardless of whether you are a member of a trade union or not.


What is the difference between overtime and extra work?


It is important to distinguish between overtime and extra work. From a labor law perspective, only the work that employees perform in excess of their individual working hours is considered overtime. Overtime means that the hours worked by the employee exceed the statutory limits.

When can my boss order me to work overtime?


As a rule, your boss can order you to work overtime if there is an explicit overtime regulation in your employment contract. In exceptional cases, however, it may also be possible for your employer to order you to work overtime even if there is no overtime provision in your employment contract and you have to do so. This is the case, for example, in unforeseeable emergency situations for the employer in order to avert short-term dangers for the company or if the existence of the company is threatened.

Does the employer always have to pay my overtime?


No. There is no legal regulation on this. However, in addition to payment of overtime, compensation in the form of time off in lieu may also be considered. The decisive factor here is what is regulated in your employment contract or in the collective agreement.

However, if compensatory time off is not possible, for example because the employment relationship is terminated, the employer is obliged to pay out the overtime that exists at the end of the employment relationship.

Is there a legal limit for the maximum number of overtime hours?


Yes, there are. By law, the maximum weekly working time is limited to 48 hours in accordance with Section 14 (3) ArbZG. The daily working time is limited to 10 hours according to § 3 ArbZG. However, deviations are possible according to § 7 ArbZG through collective, company or service agreements.

Monitoring in the workplace

When is my employer allowed to check me at all?


In general, your employer is not allowed to monitor you to ensure that your work is running smoothly at the workplace. However, if there is a disruption to the work process, they have the right to get to the bottom of the causes. Particularly in the case of theft or the disclosure of business secrets, the employer is legally permitted in principle to monitor you. It is always important that monitoring or surveillance measures are proportionate. This is only the case if the employer's interests outweigh the employee's personal rights.

Can my employer check my bag?


The employer may check your bag if there is a concrete and urgent suspicion - for example, of theft. As a rule, random checks must be carried out among employees. You as a specific employee may only be checked individually if there is serious suspicion. In principle, both handbags and, depending on the severity of the suspicion, trouser or jacket pockets may be checked.

Can my employer use a camera to monitor me at work?


In principle, employers are not permitted to carry out covert surveillance by camera, as this constitutes a significant infringement of the employee's personal rights.

However, there are specific exceptions if there is a suspected case against an employee and a camera is used to investigate a crime such as theft, embezzlement or assault. In any case, cameras in changing rooms, recreation rooms or toilets are unlawful, as such recordings are a massive violation of privacy.

Can my employer monitor my working hours?


Yes, that's perfectly all right. Checking your working hours, for example using a time sheet or a time clock, is not unusual in everyday working life. However, if you wish to be tracked using a magnetic card, you must agree to this in advance.

Can my employer tap my phone?


Secretly tapping your telephone or individual calls to your work telephone are not clearly prohibited under employment law. However, a prerequisite for this type of monitoring is a regulation in the company or a clear reference in your employment contract, which you must expressly agree to in writing.

Can my employer track my movements using GPS tracking?


Monitoring via GPS, for example via your company cell phone or company car, is generally prohibited. However, there are justified exceptions, such as ambulances or cash-in-transit vehicles, which may be tracked by the head office using GPS. Otherwise, GPS monitoring during working hours is only permitted if the employer has reason to fear a criminal offense or if you have agreed to a corresponding clause in your employment contract.

Is the employer allowed to monitor me on the PC/internet?


Your employer is permitted to read business e-mails received via your business e-mail address at any time. The employer may also prohibit Internet use for private purposes at work. This means that they may explicitly prohibit private surfing or the use of a private email account at work.

Your employer may check whether you are complying with this prohibition by taking random samples of your surfing behavior on the Internet or by specifically tracking whether you have made private downloads at work, for example. However, your employer may not simply read your private e-mails. This can only be done legally if there is an urgent suspicion that you are leaking business secrets, a virus needs to be fended off or a criminal offense needs to be uncovered.

Can my employer have me monitored by a detective?


As with all surveillance measures by the employer, the principle of proportionality also applies here. Surveillance by a detective on the basis of vague suspicion is unlawful.

Before surveillance by a detective can take place, the employer must generally ask the works council for approval. Furthermore, there must be a serious suspicion that you (want to) harm the company by passing on secrets or criminal acts.


How many vacation days am I entitled to?


The statutory vacation entitlement is based on how much you work. If your employment contract states a six-day week, you are entitled to at least 24 days' vacation, if you work a five-day week, you are entitled to 20 days' vacation per year and if you work a four-day week, you are legally entitled to 16 days' vacation per year. In simple terms, you are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks' vacation per year.

How far in advance do I have to register my vacation?


In general, it is important that you always register your vacation in the calendar year for which the vacation days apply. In most companies, it is customary that an application for leave must be submitted at least 14 days before the actual start of the leave and the boss must approve it at least seven days in advance. However, your employment contract may also stipulate that you must register large parts of your vacation at a much earlier date.

Can my employer call me back from vacation?


Basically no. Once your employer has approved your leave, they are bound by their approval. They cannot therefore revoke your leave without further ado. A rare exception to this rule is only possible in an absolute emergency. This is only the case if your employer needs your manpower to prevent the collapse of the company or an existential crisis.

Do I lose my vacation days if I fall ill while on vacation?


No, because vacation is intended to help you recover and thus maintain your ability to work. If you fall ill while on vacation and take a sick note, the vacation days remain valid and the vacation can be made up.

Can I work for another company or earn extra money during my vacation?


No, § 8 BurlG expressly prohibits gainful employment during vacation.

Can my boss order me to take compulsory leave?


In principle, the boss may order compulsory leave. However, he may not do so without a good reason and must find the best possible solution for you in terms of your vacation days.

For compulsory leave to be ordered by the boss, one of the following points must apply:

  • Seasonal operation
  • The boss is absent and without him the company is not operational
  • An unexpected operational crisis
  • The employment contract, collective bargaining agreement or a works agreement permit compulsory leave

Unter gewissen Voraussetzungen ist ihr Arbeitgeber sogar dazu gezwungen Sie in Zwangsurlaub zu schicken, beispielsweise wenn sie ihren Erholungsurlaub, der gesetzlich verpflichtend ist, nicht aus freien Stücken antreten möchten.<(

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