Employment Law Guidebook

German employment law for expats in Germany

Today, we start an online series about German employment law for expats in Germany. We would like to sensibilize our foreign clients to the characteristics of Germany’s employment law system. It differs pretty much from what you might know about your legal systems in the United States, U.K. or elsewhere. We think it is very important for you to know your rights when you come to work in Germany. This series will be developed continuously and we are looking forward to your inquiries about what topics we should cover for you. Feel free to send in your suggestions and inquiries to and we will try to implement them into our series.

1. Which law is applicable?

Most expats who work in Germany have a local employment contract with a subsidy that is located in Germany as well. In that case, your German employment contract will be governed by German employment law even if your contract says otherwise. But even if you don’t have a separate German contract, and you are simply dispatched to work here for your company, your work Germany could still will...

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2. Employment contracts

A written employment contract is not mandatory. Although, according to the Nachweisgesetz (Law on Documenting Essential Applicable Conditions for an Employment Relationship), the employer has to provide his employees with a written summary of their substantial working conditions, such as name and address of the employment contract parties, beginning and end of the employment contract, working...

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3. Contract control (AGB-Kontrolle)

In Germany, freedom of contract prevails. Basically. Legislators have recognized that in an employment relationship there is always a structural imbalance of negotiating power between employer and employee. There simply aren’t many cases in which an employee can dictate what the contract should look like. To counteract this imbalance, a number of rules are in place to protect employees...

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4. Protection against unfair dismissal (Kündigungsschutz)

Employees in Germany enjoy an extensive protection against unfair dismissals. As always, a few rules apply in order to fall under the Act Against Unfair Dismissals (Kündigungsschutzgesetz, short: KSchG).

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5. Reassignment (Versetzung, Entleitung)

Being reassigned to a new team or getting a different job within the company is part of corporate culture. But it also is one of the most vigorously fought battle grounds in employment law for executives (“Leitende Angestellte”, “Führungskräfte”). Why?

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