Usually, worldwide corporations are shocked that underneath German regulation sure employment regulation paperwork have to be wet-ink signed (handwritten) with the intention to be enforceable. Failure to adjust to this requirement might have important penalties – a dismissal discover, for instance, which has not been wet-ink signed is invalid and doesn’t terminate an employment relationship. Different examples for paperwork which require wet-ink signatures to be enforceable are fastened time period employment contracts and / or post-contractual non-competition agreements.
Technically, the identical applies to common employment contracts as effectively. Beneath the German Verification Act (Nachweisgesetz), the employer is obligated to offer the worker with a wet-ink signed doc that features the principle phrases of employment. Though some authorized commentaries take the view that non-compliance with this requirement might expose corporations to wreck claims, there isn’t any proof that this has ever develop into related. In observe, there isn’t any treatment if corporations don’t present a wet-ink signed doc with the principle phrases of employment. Plenty of corporations, particularly worldwide corporations, have applied processes the place common employment contracts are signed electronically solely.
It looks as if these corporations are in for a giant shock: A draft invoice has been revealed (https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/20/016/2001636.pdf) that goals at implementing EU Directive EU/2019/1152 . Probably the most important change is that the draft invoice now stipulates that failure to adjust to the duty to offer a wet-ink signed doc with the principle phrases of employment constitutes an administrative offence, punishable with fines of as much as EUR 2,000 per case. Based mostly on the present draft, this could not apply retroactively.
This appears weird in instances the place everybody tries to keep away from utilizing paper and goes digital as a substitute. Nonetheless, it’s, after all, a major change to the present regulation and would require corporations to assessment and, fairly probably, change their processes. Since there’ll possible be audits, corporations might want to retailer the wet-ink signed paperwork so as to have the ability to show to the authorities that they’ve complied with their obligation. This will probably be tough for corporations who solely have satellite tv for pc workplaces in Germany.
Along with the introduction of fines, the draft supplies that employers in Germany will – if the invoice passes the legislative procedures – have at hand staff the principle circumstances of the employment (contracting social gathering, wage and dealing time) in writing (digital type doesn’t suffice!) on the primary day of employment the newest; a written doc together with the next circumstances must be handed to staff inside seven days from graduation of employment: Begin Date, restricted time period (if any), Place of Work, sort of actions, probationary interval. A whole employment contract together with all related info needs to be handed to the worker in writing inside one month from graduation of employment the newest.
It isn’t clear if and when this new regulation will come into impact. EU Directive EU/2019/1152 must be applied by 31 July 2022, however it might not be the primary time that Germany doesn’t implement EU Directives in time.