GERMANY: Annual Update – Expected Labour Law Changes in 2017

Agency Workers

Reform of agency workers rules:  (1) Temporary agency workers may only be employed by the same hirer for 18 consecutive months. After that further employment is only possible after a 3 month gap. However the 18 month limit can be amended by a collective bargaining agreement.
(2) After no more than 9 months working, temporary agency workers must receive pay equal to the main work force. However, a CBA can extend this to a maximum of 15 months.
(3) After 6 months working temporary agency workers are counted towards determining the right to a works council. It is then also mandatory to disclose any agency employees.

Effective from April 1, 2017

Action required: None yet as it will take a while until first application of the new regulations (April 2017 plus at least 9 months in case of the equal pay).


Reform of the German Maternity Protection Act:  New maternity rights come into force, including :
(1) Maternity rights now also apply to female pupils and students.
(2) A pregnant woman may now work between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. if she agrees and a medical clearance certificate has been submitted. The Sunday and public holiday ban has also been relaxed so that pregnant women are now allowed to work in any industry also on Sundays, provided that she agrees to do so.
(3) The term of maternity protection in case of the birth of a handicapped child is extended from 8 to 12 months.

Effective from January 1, 2017.

Action required: Become familiar with the new rules and review whether any changes are required to policies or procedures.


Flexi – Pensions. New rules proposed Currently, a pensioner who has not yet reached the statutory retirement age may improve his pension in 10 months of a year by EUR 450, and in 2 months of a year by EUR 900. If these amounts are exceeded by only one cent, the pensioner would only receive a partial pension.
Under the new Flexi Pension proposals the rigid monthly earnings thresholds are eliminated and replaced by annual thresholds of EUR 6,300.00. If this is exceeded, then 40 % of the excess amount is deducted from the pension.
As soon as the statutory retirement age is reached, employed pensioners are generally exempt from ‘compulsory insurance’. Under the new rules, a pensioner may now in writing waive their exemption from insurance liability so that the insurance premium has a benefit enhancing effect.

Action required: None at present, but keep abreast of the current legal situation.

Minimum wages

Federal Alignment of the Minimum Wage:  From January 1, 2017, the statutory minimum wage of EUR 8.50 per hour must be paid throughout Germany.

Action required: Ensure that you are complying with minimum wage rules if relevant.