KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2017
The national minimum wage was increased to EUR 8.84 as of 1 January 2017
A general statutory minimum wage was introduced in 2015 by the Minimum Wage Act (Mindestlohngesetz). As of 1 January 2017 this was increased to EUR 8.84. Transition periods which applied for collective bargaining agreements and certain sectors ended in 2016.
Strengthening of maternity laws
Employed women are protected by law during pregnancy and after childbirth (e.g., dismissal protection, employment prohibition, and workplace design). As a result of the revised Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz) these protections will also apply to students and trainees as of 1 January 2017. Mothers shall not be employed until eight weeks after childbirth and until 12 weeks in the case of premature, multiple births or the birth of a disabled child. Dismissal of women during pregnancy and in the first four months following childbirth is unlawful. This will also apply for women who have suffered a miscarriage.
Revisions to the financial services sector’s remuneration guidelines
The European Banking Authority (“EBA”) guidelines on sound remuneration policies (based on CRD IV (Directive 2013/36/EU)) applies as of 1 January 2017 to financial institutions across the EU, including subsidiaries which are not directly subject to CRD IV. The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) implemented the requirements of the guidelines into the revised Remuneration Ordinance for Institutions (ROFI). As a result, the obligation to identify risk-takers applies for all CRR-institutions and not only for significant institutions and variable remunerations (such as bonuses) will be subject to deferral and reduction regulations and clawbacks.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2016
Implementation of 30% quotas of women (Frauenquote) on supervisory boards of listed companies
The law applies to companies that are listed on the German stock exchange and have a supervisory board subject to co-determination on a parity basis. Present board members can keep their positions until the end of the term but the quota has to be considered for newly appointed board members. If a company currently does not meet this quota, it is required to set targets for its implementation in supervisory boards.
New laws in relation to temporary employment and service contracts effective as of 1 April 2017
In November 2016 the revised German Temporary Employment Act (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz) was passed. For temporary employment and service contracts effective as of 1 April 2017, the law distinguishes more clearly between service contracts and usual work contracts. Additionally, temporary employment is now limited to a maximum duration of 18 months and temporary employees will receive the same salary as regular employees after nine months.
The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) was published
The GDPR will apply from 25 May 2018 but it still allows EU Member States to provide more specific rules in respect of the processing of employees’ personal data in the employment context. The Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) will be revised completely to ensure compliance with the GDPR. The first draft law is currently under discussion; significant changes can be expected.