German Lawyers - Graf von Westphalen

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German Lawyers - Graf von Westphalen
2_1_DiscoverGermany_March15_Issue24:Scan Magazine 1
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Discover Germany | Special Theme | Legal Experts Germany
Special Theme
Legal
Experts
Germany
German Lawyers
Employment and Labour
The Employment and Labour Law is one of those fields of law being subjected to
a huge number of changes and novelties in legislation and jurisdiction each year.
will have to wait for respective court decisions which will for sure not come earlier
than in one year from now.
TEXT: CHRISTOPH J. HAUPTVOGEL, VICE PRESIDENTS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF GERMAN EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS
(VDA - VERBAND DEUTSCHER ANWÄLTE E. V.)
The German legislature passes new Acts
affecting Employment Law nearly every
year. And the German Federal Labour
Court in Erfurt passes so many decisions
annually that they can publish an overview
of more than 100 pages each year. Two examples may illustrate this dynamic of Employment and Labor Law quite precisely:
– On 1 January 2015, the German legislature launched the new “Act on Minimum
68 | Issue 24 | March 2015
Wages”, which basically regulates that all
employees in Germany are entitled to claim
minimum wages of 8.50 Euros per hour
they work (with only a few exceptions).
However, given this new Act, a lot of new
legal problems and questions will arise,
such as“can remuneration in kind be considered as part of the wages?”, “what is
with mini-jobs?”, “what is in case of disparate working hours?” The new Act does
not give answers to these questions, so we
– Limited-term employment contracts may
in Germany only be concluded when a specific reason (which is accepted by the Act on
Fixed-Term Employment) is at hand. Without such a reason, they may only be concluded with “new”employees and only for
a maximum of two years (a period within
which they can be prolonged by a maximum of three times). But what is a “new”
employee? According to the former opinion
of the German Federal Labour Court, a
“new” employee is an employee who has
never ever before worked for the same em-
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Discover Germany | Special Theme | Legal Experts Germany
Photo: Dreamstime.com
Christoph J. Hauptvogel, Vice Presidents of the Association of
German Employment Lawyers and employment law expert at
Graf von Westphalen law firm in Munich.
ployer. A few years ago, however, the German Federal Labour Court changed their
opinion. Now they regard an employee as
“new”in cases where he/she has not been
employed by the same employer for just
the last three years. This massive change in
German jurisdiction has no basis at all in
the change of any law or the like.Therefore,
German Regional Labour Courts are currently stating that they regard this “new
opinion” of the German Federal Labour
Court as legally incorrect. What will the future bring regarding this question?
From these two examples, you can see quite
clearly that it is crucial for a lawyer in the
Employment and Labour Law sector to be
always up-to-date with the newest legislation and jurisdiction. This implies continuous training courses and specialist work in
order to be able to advise clients creatively
and accurately. Only specialist lawyers who
are spending most of their professional
working time in the Employment and
Labour Law sector are able to catch up with
all these new developments. Lawyers who
are working as “generalists” are – simply
for reasons of having no time – not able to
be updated like this.
In particular in this field of law, it is therefore strongly recommended to choose a
specialist lawyer. How can you find such
“specialist lawyers”? Well, there is a specific
name in Germany for that: Lawyers who
specialise in Employment Law can be identified by the title“Certified Specialist in Employment Law” (in German “Fachanwalt
für Arbeitsrecht”). In order to be able to
use this title, lawyers must undergo theory
courses and must pass a specific exam at
the end of these courses. In addition to
that, they must prove to a specific committee that they have at least worked on 100
labour law cases before they are entitled to
this title.
A lot of these“Certified Specialists in Employment Law”are members of the“Association of German Employment Lawyers”
(VdAA e.V.). This Association is a consortium of about 800 specialist labour lawyers
all over Germany. So in case you are looking for a “Certified Specialist in Employment Law”, you may find him/her by visiting the website www.vdaa.de.You can look
for specialist labour lawyers nearby by just
entering the name of a German city or a
postal code.
www.verband-deutscher-anwaelte.de
Issue 24 | March 2015 | 69

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