United States: Coming Soon: New Entitlement To Temporary Reduction In Working Time In Germany – The 10 Most Important Questions

On January 1, 2019, new employee entitlements to a temporary reduction in working time will come into force in Germany. We answer the 10 most important questions employers have.

  1. What Is "Bridge Part-Time"?

Fulfilling a promise made in the coalition agreement, the new entitlement to work reduced hours temporarily, commonly referred to as "bridge part-time" (Brückenteilzeit), will enable the employee to reduce the working time without cause and reason and to automatically return to the previous working time after a predetermined period of one to five years. This new entitlement to a temporary reduction of working time complements the entitlement to unlimited part-time work under the Part-Time and Fixed-Term Act (Teilzeit- und Befristungsgesetz – TzBfG) if certain conditions are met. The employee has the choice between both options.

  1. What's New?

Previously, the Act only provided for a right to a permanent reduction in working time. Conversely, there is already a right under current law to an increase in hours. However, this entitlement to top-up only obliges the employer to give preferential consideration to the employee's request for increasing hours when filling a corresponding vacant position with the same suitability.

Generally, the employee was not legally entitled to such increase in hours. To date, except for protected leaves such as parental and nursing leave, German law did neither provide an unconditional entitlement to return to the previous working hours nor for an automatic return to the previous schedule. In contrast to this, the new bridge part-time will enable employees to work part-time for a specific period and automatically return to full-time employment after that period.

  1. Can Any Employer Be Called Upon?

No, a claim to the new limited part-time work only exists for employers with an average of more than 45 employees. This serves to protect smaller businesses from excessive demands.

  1. Who Is Entitled to "Bridge Part-Time"?

All employees whose employment relationship with the same employer lasted longer than six months at the time of receipt of the part-time request are entitled to reduce hours, no matter whether the employee was previously employed full-time or part-time.

  1. Do Employees Need a Justification or Reason For Their Request To Reduce Hours?

No, however, in the legislator's opinion the new entitlement serves to bring up children, care for relatives and further education, but also to enables a smooth transition to retirement or a balanced relationship between work and private life.

  1. Are There Time Limits?

To create a certain planning security for the employer, the Act provides that the period of reduction in working hours must be at least one year and a maximum of five years. Collective bargaining agreements may deviate therefrom. However, the law does not regulate the extent of the reduction, so that – unless there are opposing operational reasons – in principle, there is no lower limit for the new working time.

  1. Are There Any Form Requirements? And What About Deadlines?

Yes, the application must be submitted by the employee in text form at least three months before the desired reduction in working time and must specify the reduction period. Handwritten signature is not required, so e-mail will suffice.

  1. Can Employers Reject Claims?

For employers with 45 to 200 employees, the new law provides protection against excessive demands in such a way that the number of bridge part-time employees in the company is capped. For every 15 employees, only one individual is entitled to bridge part-time work. So if the employer has already granted bridge part-time work to a corresponding number of employees, it can reject further applications.

However, it is unclear what process has to be followed to pick the employee. It is more likely that case law will require the employer to choose the employee based on social factors rather than on a first-come, first-served basis.

Furthermore, any employer can reject a temporary part-time application for opposing operational reasons, e.g. because granting the request would significantly impair the organization, the workflow or operational safety or would only be possible at disproportionate cost.

During the limited part-time period, neither a further reduction nor an extension of the working time can be demanded. If the employee returns to the original schedule, a new reduction shall be admissible at the earliest one year after return to full hours.

  1. What Do Employers Have To Do Once They Receive A Request?

The employer must decide in writing on a formal application one month before the desired part-time start at the latest. It is important that the written rejection be made in good time. If the employer fails to do that, its consent to the temporary reduction in working hours is deemed to have been granted.

  1. Is There A Right To Return To The Previous Job?

No, the law only regulates the automatic return to the previous working hours. Generally, there is no entitlement to employment in the same job after returning to full hours. Rather, the employer can assign the employee equivalent work in line with the right to give directions and the employment contract.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Events from this Firm
25 Mar 2019, Speaking Engagement, New York, United States

Employment partner and Chair of Orrick’s Global Employment Law Practice, Mike Delikat will be participating in 2019 SIFMA Compliance & Legal Society Annual Seminar.

27 Mar 2019, Seminar, New York, United States

This seminar addresses the issues founders face when they move beyond their initial partnership and take steps to institutionalize the private equity firm they founded by admitting new general partners.

28 Mar 2019, Webinar, New York, United States

It's been three years since California kicked off a wave of new pay equity laws around the country. Additional states and municipalities continue to roll out additional requirements, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)'s new compensation directive indicates sustained focus from the federal government as well.

 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Country
Position
Industry
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions