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Germany: Employee rights

Updating author: Alexander Schlicht and Karin Sültrop, Osborne Clarke, Germany

Original author: Karen Ullmann

Consultant editor: Dr Jan Tibor Lelley, BUSE

See the legal services provided by the authors/consultant editors of XpertHR International > Germany, including any discounts/offers for subscribers.


  • Employers should take special measures to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (See Coronavirus - emergency measures)
  • There are various rules regarding employees' hours of work, with particular restrictions for night workers. (See Hours of work)
  • Employees are entitled to minimum rest breaks, and rest periods after completion of their working day. (See Rest breaks and rest periods)
  • Subject to exceptions, for example in hospitals, Sunday work is prohibited. (See Sunday work)
  • There are various rules regarding minimum paid annual leave for employees and when it may be taken. (See Holidays and holiday pay)
  • Pregnant employees and new mothers have various rights, including maternity leave and pay. (See Maternity and pregnancy rights)
  • Natural and adoptive parents are entitled to take parental leave and receive state parental benefit. (See Parental leave)
  • Employees have various rights to take time off work to care for a close relative. (See Carer's leave)
  • Employees do not lose their entitlement to remuneration if they take "force majeure" leave. (See Force majeure leave)
  • Part-time employees have various rights, such as to be treated no less favourably than a comparable full-time employee, except where such treatment can be justified. (See Part-time workers)
  • Fixed-term employees have various rights, and can be used only in certain circumstances. (See Fixed-term workers)
  • Employers have various obligations in relation to remote workers. (See Remote workers)
  • There are various rules regarding temporary agency workers, such as the requirement to have employment contracts with the temporary work agency. (See Temporary agency work)
  • Workers posted to work in Germany from other countries are covered by certain German legal and administrative regulations. (See Posted workers)
  • If a business or part of it is transferred to a new owner, its employees also transfer. (See Transfers of undertakings)
  • There are rules regarding payments for employees in the event of the employer's insolvency. (See Insolvency of employer)
  • Disciplinary sanctions and procedures against employees are not regulated by statute. (See Disciplinary and grievance procedures)
  • There are various rules regarding the processing and use of employees' personal data. (See Data protection)