It is common practice for German employment contracts to have a mutual clause that excludes claims by either party if they have not been declared by written notice within a three month period. These clauses usually require the notice to be made by way of a formal letter which is personally signed by the employee.
Under a new law, applying only to contracts entered into after 1 October 2016, this type of exclusion clause will be invalid if it requires a more stringent form of notice than the basic text requirement for any notices under the employment contract. Such notices may be provided in the form of email or fax and do not require the employee’s actual signature.
What steps should employers take now?
It is important for employers to ensure that all employment contracts entered into on or after 1 October 2016 comply with this new rule. Employment contracts agreed before 30 September 2016 should be amended carefully in case the change inadvertently creates a new contract that would be caught by the new rule.
This rule does not apply to exclusion clauses in bargaining agreements.
Dr. Andreas Walle/Dr. Volker Voth, GmbHRundschau Heft 17, R257.
(§ 309 Nr.13 lit.b BGB rules)
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