Labour law content in the coalition agreement

Overview of the plans of the new federal government

The coalition agreement between the SPD, BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN und FDP was presented to the public with the title "Dare more progress". In the total of 178 pages, the coalition parties also take a position on their impulses in labour law and labour market policy, which we will present to you below:

Raising the minimum wage

The coalition parties want to enforce a higher minimum wage for employees and therefore raise the statutory minimum wage to EUR 12 per working hour (currently EUR 9.60, from January 1,2022 to an amount of EUR 9.82 and from July 1, 2022 to EUR 10.45).


Strengthening the autonomy of collective bargaining

Furthermore, the autonomy of collective bargaining is to be strengthened. To this end, on the one hand, the awarding of national public sector contracts is to be made subject to compliance with a collective agreement representative of the sector in question. Secondly, the so-called collective bargaining evasion in the case of company spin-offs is to be prevented by the binding continuation of the applicable collective agreement.


Co-determination within companies

The coalition partners want to further develop co-determination within companies, especially regarding digitalization. Works councils should be able to decide for themselves whether they work in analogue or digital form. In this regard, the recently passed Works Council Modernization Act (Betriebsrätemodernisierungsgesetz) is to be evaluated (we reported on this here).


Corporate co-determination

When employees participate in supervisory boards under the One-Third Participation Act, the so-called group attribution from the Co-Determination Act is to apply in future. Accordingly, employees of other group companies would be attributed to the controlling group company already if there is de facto control.

The previous so-called "freezing effect" in the growth of SE companies is to be prevented in future. This means that in future companies will no longer be able to retain their co-determination-free or less co-determined (e.g., One-Third Participation Act) status if they continue to grow after conversion into an SE and, for example, exceed the threshold for a supervisory board with equal representation. Under current law, co-determination in the SE no longer changes if the number of staff grows.


Working hours and home office

The principle of the 8-hour day is to be maintained. At the same time, it should be made possible, based on appropriate collective bargaining agreements, to arrange working time more flexibly under certain conditions and within certain time limits; in this context, the limited possibility of deviating from the current regulations of the Working Time Act about the maximum daily working time should also be created.

Employees in appropriate jobs are to be given the right to discuss mobile working and home office with their employer. The coalition partners want employers to be able to object to an employee's request for a home office only if there are operational reasons to the contrary. Home office, as a possibility of mobile work, is to be legally distinguished from telework and the scope of the Workplace Ordinance.


Fixed-term contracts

Fixed-term contracts with the same employer should be limited to a total of six years to avoid so-called chain fixed-term contracts. For public employers, the exclusive reason for a fixed-term contract on budgetary grounds is to be abolished and fixed-term contracts without a material reason are to be successively reduced.


Special leave and protection against dismissal in the case of childbirths

The coalition agreement provides for an entitlement to a two-week paid leave of absence for the partner after the birth of the joint child. Maternity protection and leave for the partner in the case of miscarriage or stillbirth will be granted after the 20th week of pregnancy. Furthermore, the protection against dismissal due to parental leave is to be extended by three months after returning to work to secure the return to work.


Higher income thresholds for mini- and midi-jobs

The midi-job limit is to be raised to EUR 1.600; the mini-job limit is to be based in future on a weekly working time of 10 hours at minimum wage conditions and thus raised to EUR 520 with the increase of the minimum wage. At the same time, the coalition partners want to monitor more closely the compliance of mini jobs with current labour law.


Companies and jobs in structural change

With the aim of preserving jobs in structural change, the coalition partners place a focus on further training and professional reorientation. In addition to adjustments to the Upgrading Training Assistance Act (Aufstiegs-BAföG), in-company further training is also to be promoted. To this end, the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) is to be given a stronger role in qualification and related counselling.

Furthermore, a so-called supported training (part) period is to be possible in future, subject to agreement between the employee and the employer, e.g., for catching up on a professional qualification or for professional reorientation.

It should also be possible to grant a qualification allowance like the short-time allowance if a corresponding company agreement has been concluded. This is intended to enable companies undergoing structural change to keep their employees in the company through qualification and thus to secure skilled workers.

Also, the coalition partners want to extend the transfer short-time allowance and further develop the instruments around the transfer companies. In addition, incentives are to be created for the conclusion of transformation collective agreements.


Combating the lack of skilled workers

In terms of labour market policy, the coalition partners attach importance to addressing the shortage of skilled labour, especially in the health sector and the skilled trades. Cornerstones are:

  • higher labour force participation of women
  • strengthening of professional training, further training and continuing education
  • further development of immigration law with the aim of labour immigration (e.g., by reducing obstacles to the recognition of educational and professional qualifications from abroad)
  • Improving working conditions in areas where there is a shortage of skilled workers.

Deloitte Legal Webcast "Legal Update #19/2021"

The new coalition agreement - What is the government planning in employment law? | Also: new regulations to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

14 December 2021 | Register now! 

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