Amendments to Temporary Staff Employment Law in Germany as of 1 April 2017

By Michael Wendler, Wendler Tremml

Employing temporary staff, for which a Federal Labour Office permit is required, enables domestic and foreign companies to be particularly flexible in using staff in their work in Germany, enabling them to cover peak order loads and short-term staff requirements.

While it gives employers flexibility, it often makes temporary staff uncertain and upset, as they do not benefit from the tariff contracts of permanently employed staff or the higher pay and other benefits they usually enjoy. The law amending the temporary staff employment law (AÜG) and other laws, which enters into force on 1 April 2017, is intended to return using temporary staff to its core function.

The main innovation is the provision of the law on 'equal pay' after nine months, after which temporary staff will be paid the same as permanent staff. The only exception to this is if temporary staff sector tariff contracts apply. After a familiarisation period not exceeding six weeks, temporary staff will have their pay brought up in stages to one which the tariff contract parties in the temporary staff sector have agreed to be equivalent to the tariff contract pay for comparable staff in the sector in which they are employed. They must achieve equal pay status within not more than 15 months.

The second major module is the maximum hire period: after 18 months, the hiring company must hire temporary staff itself if it wishes to continue using them, otherwise the temporary staff agency must reassign them away from the hiring company. The tariff partners in individual sectors in which temporary staff are used may agree a tariff contract to say they may be hired for longer periods, and non-tariff-bound hiring companies may extend the maximum hiring time under the tariff rules for their sector if the conditions the law lays down are met and observed.

Another innovation is the prohibition on using temporary staff as strikebreakers. In future, any business which is affected by a labour dispute can only use them if they are not doing work strikers would do otherwise. There is also a transitional provision on the maximum hiring time and the new rule on equal pay after nine months which provides that hiring times before 1 April 2017 will not be taken into account, so current temporary staff cannot be dismissed on the grounds that they have reached the limit as soon as the law comes into force.

Michael Wendler

Michael Wendler

Wendler Tremml, Dusseldorf, Germany
T: +49 (0)211/669 667-0
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Published: March 2017 l Photo: nullplus -

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