parallax background

German labour law

Temporary labour contract

In Germany – like in the whole European Union – there are specific restrictions regarding time limitations in all labour contracts.

Firstly, a labour contract can be limited in terms of the duration of an employment relationship without a constraint for a maximum period of two years. A labour contract limited to less than 2 years can be extended twice until it reaches the limit of two years of the whole employment relationship. Legitimate are only extensions, but not closing a new contract – regardless of time between these two employment contracts/relationships.

The bottom line is, there is only a limited number of cases, in which an employer can bind somebody via a labour contract for a limited period of longer than 2 years, repeating contracts with periods of time between them is also limited. Most important cases are the ones of replacing employees on a maternal or sick leave.

What was the aim of the makers of this law? An employee should be able to plan his future regarding his financial and professional situation. He should be able to plan his income situation also regarding his pension claims, otherwise, it would be a state, which would have to deal with the lack of financial security of older people, who are no more able to work or for whose services there is no market for. This aim cannot be achieved without a possibility for employees to plan their eventual contributions to pension funds etc.