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The German federal elections: what changes employers can expect

The German federal elections are on Sunday 26 September and the six main parties have all made employment-related commitments in their manifestos.

The topics of home office and remote work are at the top of the parties’ agendas for the imminent federal election in Germany. The COVID-19 pandemic and adjustment to the ‘new normal’ have certainly contributed significantly to this. There is a consensus among almost all parties that workers should be allowed to spend a certain number of days in the home office and/or in working remotely. However, with regard to occupational health and safety and the co-determination of the works council, there are sometimes major differences between the parties.

Working time is also a real perennial issue in this federal election. (Almost) all six parties see a clear need for flexibility and room for new working time models. The CDU/CSU and FDP in particular want to introduce a weekly maximum working time instead of a daily one, within the framework granted by EU law. The SPD, on the other hand, focuses more on personal long-term accounts (in which employees can save to exchange against time off) to protect against the loss of overtime. In addition to their proposals, the Greens and the Left also explicitly point out that working time must be compulsorily documented in future in accordance with the European Court of Justice ruling on the recording of working time (ECJ 14 May 2019, C-55/18).

The programme statements on fixed-term employment are also interesting. While the SPD, the Greens and the Left strive for a complete abolition of fixed-term contracts without an objective basis, the CDU/CSU in particular (pointing out that such fixed-term contracts should continue to be the exception) fundamentally relies on the existing provisions of the Part-Time and Fixed-term Employment Act.

The parties’ proposals and ideas are extremely diverse when it comes to pay transparency and equality. The spectrum here ranges from an evaluation of the current legal situation to far-reaching legal changes, in particular the introduction of procedures to eliminate unequal pay for women and men.

Please note that this overview is not comprehensive and in no way reflects a political opinion of KLIEMT.Arbeitsrecht.

Podcast on the German elections

The 6 main parties taking part in the German Federal elections have set out their ideas and in this episode, we take a look at their plans for employment. Till Heimann from our German law firm, Kliemt HR Lawyers, joins us to explain what they each envisage.
Till Heimann
Partner - Germany
Kliemt.HR Lawyers
Ferdinand Groß
Attorney - Germany
Kliemt.HR Lawyers

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Till Heimann, partner at KLIEMT.HR Lawyers, heads the firm's focus group for remuneration in regulated sectors and is part of KLIEMT's legal tech and innovation group.

Till Heimann
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