parallax background

German labour law


In the German labour law, every right – especially monetary entitlements – expires after few months from arising and due date if not claimed in written form. For example: differences between a paid and an earned salary for a one month, in case of their due date of the 15th day of a following month can be claimed for only until the 15th day of a third month after a due date month (salary differences for February, [which are] due the 15th March, cannot be claimed after the end of the 15th of June). Raising a written claim means also that the declaration can also be sent via an email. It is important that such declaration reaches the other party in a way which can be proved – a reaction from the employer or a return receipt and a witness for the content of the envelope. It must reach the employer until the last day of the limitation period, in fact until one can count on a taking notice from his receiver (for example if the person responsible stays in the employer’s office always until 5:00 p. m. it must reach him or her until 5:00 p. m.). Quite often one must file a lawsuit within 3 months after the refusal of the performance or 2 weeks after the claim has reached the area of its receiver. This is the second level if the limitation periods, part of the labour contracts or employment relationship in Germany contains only the 1 level limitation periods. Limitation periods can also be shorter than 3 months. However, there are almost no limitation periods shorter than 2 months (in such cases mostly with two levels of the limitation periods). In some breaches of the labour market, the limitation periods result from agreements between unions and employer’s organizations (construction, building cleaning, public service directly as an employee of a public entity, etc.). If an employer does not give an employee information about limitation periods or unions’ collective agreements, then such limitation periods are not applicable – even if a collective agreement is, as a whole, by a governmental directive applicable to this employment.