As usual, there are some important changes in German labor law which came into force at the start of the new year. Below are eight of the most important new developments that employers might want to be aware of.
Legal minimum wage
The legal minimum wage has been raised from 1 January 2022. The minimum gross hourly wage is now €9.82. The new German coalition government’s plan to raise the minimum hourly wage to €12 will also come into force soon, with regulations expected to be implemented later this year.
The exemption cap for non-monetary benefits that employers can pay to their employees tax-free has increased from €44 to €50 per month from 1 January 2022. Another new aspect is that a payment card or a voucher must meet the more stringent requirements of Section 2(1) No. 10 of the Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz or ZAG) from January 1, 2022, in order to remain tax exempt. This means that only reserved merchant and commodity group cards and vouchers will be possible.
Partial unemployment benefits
The temporary special regulation for partial unemployment benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended until June 30, 2022.
Electronic unemployment registration
Since 1 January 2022, unemployed people can not only register in person with the competent employment office, but also do so electronically. The new, legally secure electronic unemployment registration requires the use of an identity card (ID) with the so-called “online identification function”. Thus, employees should only be reminded of their obligation to register without delay as a job seeker in Notices of Termination and Termination or Settlement Agreements rather than in person, as was the case before.
Already in place for contracts since January 1, 2019, employers must provide a legal subsidy for the company pension of their employees if the employees devote part of their salary to the company pension through an allowance. called deferred. The amount of a statutory employer allowance is based on the social security contributions actually saved through deferred compensation, but capped at 15% of the converted amount. As of January 1, 2022, the employer’s obligation to pay this legal indemnity also applies to so-called old contracts (i.e. all contracts concluded before January 1, 2019).
However, it should be noted that these regulations may be derogated from in collective agreements for the benefit or detriment of employees.
Status determination procedure
Significant changes came into effect for the status determination process on April 1, 2022. The Legislature amended the German Social Code, Book IV during the previous legislature, to include new provisions within the scope of the status determination procedure, which aims to clarify whether there is an employment relationship subject to social security contributions between a client and a person providing services
Works council elections
A number of legal changes also apply to the next works council elections in 2022. For more details, please see our article about this topic.
© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 97