Finally, Germany gets a new government – that is sure since the membership decision of the Social Democrats (SPD) ended successfully. Already on 7th February, the SPD and the Christian Democrats (CDU) had agreed on a coalition agreement in which they plan important projects for the next four years. Of course, this 179-page contract also contains some pages on employment law.

For this reason, the projects planned in the next few years should be presented here in order to show which way employment law will pursue in the future. Of course, this does not mean that everything is really implemented that way, and often there are still changes and discussions. Nevertheless, both parties feel bound by the contract – which is one reason why the negotiations lasted so long.

Changed regulations on the limitation of employment contracts

The most important section is certainly that for the regulation of fixed-term contracts. In principle, a time limit is only possible if this is provided by law. Discussions are often about how far this should go. A time limit without material reason should now only be possible for a maximum of 18 months (instead of 24 months). In this period, the time limit can now be extended only once, instead of the previous three times. In addition, the number of non-permanent employees in companies with more than 75 employees is to be limited to 2.5%.

In addition, chain-fixed-term-contracts (sequence of fixed-term with reason) should be limited. Here a maximum duration of 5 years is to be inserted.

Right to limited part-time

In companies with 45 or more employees, the employee should have the option to arrange part-time work only for a certain period of time and then returning to his or her original job. Such a right did not exist so far. The possibility of extending the working time is only possible to a very limited extent.

Restriction of work on demand

In principle, work on demand is regulated very strictly under German law. Zero-hour contracts are, for example, inadmissible. Flexibility should only be in the range of 20% less work and 25% more work.

Modernization of working time law

The consequences of digitization on the Working Hours Act are a frequently discussed issue. Nevertheless, they have decided against a change in the legal regulations. However, the collective bargaining parties should be given the opportunity to create more flexible regulations here. This should in particular concern the maximum weekly working time.

Simplification of the works council election

The election of the works council should be formally facilitated. So far, this only applies to companies with up to 100 employees and is to be expanded to 200 employees.

Evaluation of the Temporary Employment Act (“Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz”)

Temporary employment is often discussed. Changes to the associated law were already made in 2017. These should be critically reviewed for their effectiveness by 2020.

Regulation employment data protection

The data protection specifically for employees also became more in the focus of the parties. It should be evaluated whether an independent law should be created in addition to the Data Protection Act (“Bundesdatenschutzgesetz – BDSG”).

Expansion of further education offers

In addition, further education is becoming more important. The employment relationship is understood as dynamic. Therefore, further education programs should be strengthened

It will be exciting to see which of these points will actually be implemented over the next four years. Due to the long duration of the negotiations, it is expected that many of these issues will be transposed. With regard to the individual details of the coming laws, as well as their interpretation, one should wait. Here, the problems often show up only when the law is actually implemented.