The CDU is evidently planning a reform of the German Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employment Act [Teilzeit- und Befristungsgesetzes, TzBfG]. The Ministries of Ursula von der Leyen (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs [Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS]) and Kristina Schröder (Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth [Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ]) are planning a legally anchored right of employees to return to full-time employment after a period of part-time employment for family-related reasons.

At present, an employee’s return to full-time employment still lies at the discretion of the employer. Although employees can demand the reduction of their weekly working hours from their employer, as long as this does not oppose operational requirements, in the other direction, however, a right to increase working hours is not yet envisaged. Schröder sees the risk that women in particular could fall into the “part-time trap” through this provision, from which they can never escape. The existing regulation is a “dead end”.

However, Schröder expects opposition to rise from the ranks of the FDP. Hence, consent to a corresponding legislative proposal is not expected during this legislative period. Also in this respect, the outcome of the imminent Bundestag elections is to be awaited with baited breath.