New Law Promotes Equal Pay and Creates New Employer Obligations

New Legislation Enacted

The German Federal Government approved the Pay Transparency Act, which came into force in June 2017. The Act, which is intended to reduce the gender-based pay inequality in Germany, creates the right for employees to access information related to salaries, if the employer’s workforce exceeds 200 employees. The Act also imposes various review and reporting obligations on employers, intended to facilitate the adjustment of salaries. The new law will, for sure, increase administrative work in the HR department. Whether it will be a “breakthrough for fair pay for women,” as the legislator is calling it, remains to be seen.

Reform of German Maternity Protection Act

New Legislation Enacted

In May 2017, the German Federal Government passed a reform known as the German Maternity Protection Act, aimed at protecting the health and well-being of the woman and her (unborn) child during pregnancy, after birth and during the nursing period. Key provisions of the reform include: (1) a broader scope of application (e.g., extension to female managing directors); (2) an expanded requirement for the company to conduct a risk assessment (concerning specific risks for pregnant women and nursing mothers); (3) liberalization concerning work on Sundays and public holidays; (4) flexibility of night work; (5) implementation of protection against dismissal after a miscarriage; and (6) the extension of maternity leave after giving birth to a handicapped child. The last two amendments are already in force, whereas the rest of the amendments will enter into force on January 1, 2018.