The uniform interest of labor law is to protect the interests of employees’ obligations, rights, and responsibilities. The primary function of implementing labor laws is to provide equal opportunities to all employees, improve employee well-being and mental health, and provide safe working conditions without harassment or discrimination. The labor code in Germany is divided into two categories:

  1. Collective employment law – controls the shared organization and representation of employees along with their rights and obligations.
  2. Individual Employment Law – addresses issues between an employer and an individual employee.

Legal Framework

Anti-Discriminatory Laws

The anti-discriminatory laws are covered under the General Equal Treatment Act. The law aims to protect against unlawful discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, race, religion, belief, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

Extent of Protection

The employer or fellow employees are prohibited from engaging in acts of discrimination against a person even at the time of recruitment and hiring. Furthermore, every condition, including the stipend or wage, should be free from acts of discrimination. The law especially protects against harassment or sexual harassment, including unwanted conduct or violating a person’s dignity.

Social Media and Data Privacy

The employee has the sole authority to decide whether or not and to what extent employees can use the internet or phones on the job premises. If the use of the internet is restricted or not allowed, an employee cannot use the internet to check email or post on social media without their employer’s permission.

Many employers allow their employees to use the internet during lunch hour. However, the use of the internet for private matters should be strictly restricted for the employee’s safety and the employer. Moreover, the employer and the employee are required to refrain from releasing personal data or information about company policies or employee details on social media or otherwise.

Foreign Employees

Any employee who wishes to work in Germany must have a valid ID and work permit before entering the country. This law does not apply to European Union nationals, German nationals, nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA), or Swiss nationals.

Foreign employees are obligated to share details of their residence title and work permit with their employer before being hired.

Trade Unions and Employers Associations

The main purpose of setting up trade unions and employers associations is to conclude a collective bargaining agreement. Trade unions represent and support the interests of employees but do not have the right to participate in company affairs. The employers cannot interfere in the matters and decisions of the trade union; however, the employer decides the outcome, keeping in mind the interests of employees and the company.

Employee Benefits

Employees are entitled to the following benefits:

  • Health care and insurance
  • Required leave – annual, sick, disability, maternity, paternity, casual
  • Pensions
  • Any other benefits as stated in the employment contract

Conclusion

The clauses for employment and labor code in Germany typically cover salary, working hours, working conditions, employee rights, etc. The law clearly states the structure and legal framework of employee rights and obligations to allow fair conduct of business. To learn more about doing business in Germany, click here.