Who are the protagonists of the German Labour Law System?

The German labour law system distinguishes between the following protagonists:

International workers in Germany? You should have a look at the following article.

 Employee: An employee in the sense of labour law is someone who works for another in personal dependence on the basis of a contract regulated under private law for remunerated services. In order to distinguish employees from self-employed persons, German case law has developed many individual criteria: This includes whether and that a person is bound to a specific place and time, is integrated into the company organisation and the work is performed by the person.

Employer: This includes any natural or legal person who employs a worker. In legal terminology, an enterprise is understood to be the organisational unit with which an employer alone or with his employees strives for defined work-related intentions.

Works council (Betriebsrat): The works council is the most important effective force of the works constitution. It can be introduced in every company as soon as it has at least five permanent employees entitled to vote, three of whom are in turn eligible for election (section 1 of the Works Constitution Act = BetrVG). The works council represents the interests of the employees of a company before the employer. The most important task of the works council is to ensure that legal rights and obligations are observed.

Employers’ association (Arbeitgeberverband): Employers’ associations are formed when employers voluntarily join together to represent their socio-political interests. They are organised by sector at district, state and national level, as well as nationally across sectors. The Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) coordinates bargaining policy among its members. The BDA also represents the interests of its members before the state, the trade unions and other social groups.

Trade unions (Gewerkschaften): Trade unions are formed by voluntary associations of employees.They represent the interests of their members before individual employers or employers’ associations, the state and other social groups.

Important to know: There is no all-encompassing German labour law. Rather, German labour law is made up of various laws and regulations, which in turn influence different subsystems of the human resources system.

As it could be difficult to get to know all the difference regulations, we strongly recommend you to talk to a specialized attorney about your legal situation. We can help you – it’s our job. 


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