On 1 May 2007 the German Government introduced legislative changes in an attempt to improve the employment opportunities of older workers.

Employers will now be allowed to take on workers aged 52 or over on fixed-term contracts for up to 5 years, provided they have been unemployed for at least four months prior to entering into the contract.

However, there would appear to be a significant risk that these changes will be deemed to be incompatible with Community law bearing in mind the ECJ’s 2005 decision in Mangold v Rudiger Helm, in which it held that German legislation allowing employers to treat those over 52 less favourably than those under 52 (by permitting fixed-term contracts without objective justification) offended the principle of eliminating discrimination on grounds of age.