Every Chinese investor not only needs to be aware of cultural differences when considering investing in Germany, but also has to have a basic understanding of legal issues.
German employment law provides for a good level of employee protection, for example in case of termination of employment. Being familiar with some basic principles of German employment law can help Chinese investors avoid pitfalls that may lead to severe sanctions by authorities as well as financial obligations towards employees.
Our Orrick Germany China Desk gives a brief outline of German employment law and what Chinese investors and businesses investing or doing business in Germany need to know in our bilingual English-Chinese guideline.
(No) Issue in Germany?
The ongoing #metoo discussion certainly has arrived in Germany. However, so far, sexual harassment and misconduct haven’t been a major topic of investigation or revelation in Germany. Other than in the U.S., in Germany no major cases of politicians, corporate executives or celebrities accused, sued, or terminated for inappropriate behavior have become publicly known. Only the case of a well-known award-winning TV and film director gained some traction in Germany. READ MORE
In Germany, regular works council elections are held every four years. The next election period is quickly approaching, starting on March 1, 2018.
Companies with business in Germany should prepare for the election process and employee initiatives to elect a works council. Our bilingual guide, based on years of experience, provides practical tips and legal considerations, navigates you through the election process and helps you avoid pitfalls that can be costly.
To access the full guide, please click here. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to André Zimmermann, Head of our German Employment Law Practice, or Mike Delikat, Chair of our Global Employment Law Practice.
Just in time for the 10th anniversary of the German General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – AGG) the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has clarified that European anti-discrimination law does not protect mock applicants, i.e. applicants who are not interested in being hired, but solely apply in order to bring claims on the grounds of discrimination. The judgment will make it easier for companies in Europe to reject such discrimination claims in the future.
On June 1, 2016, the draft law regarding the reform of the German Act on the Supply of Temporary Employees (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz – AÜG) has been adopted by the Federal Cabinet. The German Bundestag will address the draft law after the summer break. However, material changes to the draft are not expected to be made during the parliamentary process. If the time schedule will be observed, the reform will come into force as planned on January 1, 2017.
The new law will bring material changes for both, employment agencies and their customers, the host businesses.
Draft legislation regarding the reform of the German Act on the Supply of Temporary Employees (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz – AÜG) has been introduced by Germany’s Federal Minister of Labor. Although further amendments to this draft are likely and a final version will not come into force before January 1, 2017, it is important to know what this means for temporary employment agencies and their customers, the host businesses.
Statistics reveal a difference of 7 percent between the remuneration paid to men and that paid to women with the same qualifications in Germany. The average hourly wage even shows a difference of 22 percent, making pay discrepancy in Germany one of the highest in the EU. In order to adjust these wage injustices, the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth submitted a first preliminary ministerial draft of the German Equal Pay Act (Entgeltgleichheitsgesetz) on December 9, 2015. The act is expected to be adopted in 2016.
Powerful trade unions often are a thorn in the side of employers. But if a company tries to reduce the trade unions’ influence, it may violate the freedom of association under Article 9 section 3 of the German Constitution (Grundgesetz – GG). This was made clear in a recent ruling of the Labor Court (Arbeitsgericht) Gelsenkirchen (judgment of March 9, 2016 – 3 GA 3/16).
In certain circumstances an employer is entitled to analyse the browsing history of the work computer used by the employee without a need for the employee’s consent. This was made clear in a recent ruling of the Regional Labour Court (Landesarbeitsgericht – LAG) of Berlin-Brandenburg (judgment of January, 14 2016 – 5 Sa 657/15).
Asia Employment Law Update
Proposed Regulations May Complicate Reductions in Force in China
On December 31st, 2014, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (“MOHRSS”) issued a notice to solicit public opinions on the draft Regulations on Personnel Cutbacks by Enterprises (“Draft Regulations”). The Draft Regulations set out detailed implementing rules for “mass layoffs” (defined under the Labor Contract Law as being a layoff of more than 10% of the workforce or more than 20 employees) and, if adopted in their current form, will further complicate the process for conducting reductions in force in China.