A number of new regulations took effect at the beginning of the year with consequences for employers in Germany. They are briefly summarised here.
'Minimum wage' for trainees
The Act to Modernise and Strengthen Vocational Education and Training (BBiMoG) came into force on 1 January 2020. At the same time, the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) was amended. It now stipulates a minimum training allowance (MAV) for all vocational training contracts concluded after 1 January 2020. In addition, in the interests of standardising training, internationally comparable qualifications and more diverse opportunities for part-time training have been included.
In concrete terms, the minimum training allowance, irrespective of whether the training is in-company or external, is now:
- first year of training: EUR 515 with a gradual increase until 2023 (2021: EUR 550; 2022: EUR 585; 2023: EUR 620);
- second year of training: premium of EUR 18;
- third year of training: premium of EUR 35;
- fourth year of training: premium of EUR 40;
- after: linked to average development of contractually agreed training allowances (collectively and individually agreed).
Statutory minimum wage rise
Since 1 January 2020, the statutory minimum wage is no longer EUR 9.19, but EUR 9.35 per hour actually worked.
As expected, the turn of the year also brought changes in the area of data protection. On 25 November 2019, the 'Second Act to Adapt Data Protection Law to the Basic Data Protection Regulation and to Implement Directive (EU) 2016/680' was announced. From the point of view of labour law, two points in particular should be emphasised.
Consent to processing by email
In future, it should be possible to give consent to the processing of personal data in the employment relationship 'in writing or electronically' (s26 paragraph 2 sentence 3 BDSG), meaning also by email. This finally settles the dispute as to whether hard copy written consent should be the rule and whether only in exceptional cases can email be used: email is now an acceptable method of giving consent to processing.
Increase in the threshold value for the appointment of a data protection officer
The number of employees above which a data protection officer must be appointed in an organisation has increased from ten to 20, so that a large number of SMEs and and associations will not have to appoint a data protection officer in future.
Working time recording 4.0
In its ruling of 14 May 2019, the European Court of Justice (Case C-55/18) ruled that Member States must require employers to introduce an objective, reliable and accessible system for recording working time which fully records working time and breaks. It is not yet possible to foresee how the ruling will be implemented. Nevertheless, employers should pay particular attention to timely implementation, especially if they have not yet made any provisions for 'Working Time Recording 4.0'.
Third Bureaucracy Reduction Act (BEG III)
The changes implemented by the Third Bureaucracy Relief Act (BEG III) are also eagerly awaited. At the turn of the year, the text form for the notification of a decision by the employer on an employee's request for part-time work was by Part-Time and Fixed-Term Employment Act (TzBfG), which means that this can now be done by email.
In addition, with effect from 1 January 2022, the certificate of incapacity to work will become digital. Among other things, this will lead to the elimination of the employee's obligation to present the incapacity certificate and the employee will only have to report their illness to the employer.
Proof of A1 certificate applications
If employees are to be sent to a member state of the EU or the EEA or to Switzerland, a so-called A1 certificate must be applied for.
Since the application often has to be submitted at short notice (e.g. in the context of business trips), it is now possible to receive proof of the application generated by the payroll accounting programme after electronic submission of an application. This will make it easier for the employer to provide proof that the application has been submitted before the start of a foreign assignment.
You can find more information on the guidelines for A1 certificates for business trips here.
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