However, it is not possible to determine from the press release whether the limitation periods in old employment contracts are also entirely or—which is the prevailing opinion at present—only invalid with regard to the minimum wage entitlements. It can, however, be assumed that the Federal Labor Court has not made a final decision regarding this disputed question. The specific dispute in which the court made the ruling concerned a new employment contract. Particularly with regard to this question and the transparency requirements imposed by the Federal Labor Court, it is necessary to wait until the full text of the ruling has been made available.Against this background, it is advisable to include a new effective exclusion clause in future amendment contracts as well as a concrete definition of the subject matter of the amendment. Otherwise, there is a risk that courts will consider amendment contracts in which the continued effectiveness of all unaltered provisions of an old employment contract are regulated to be new employment contracts with the consequence that the limitation clause becomes ineffective in its entirety.
After this recent development, it is strongly recommended that companies re-examine their employment contract limitation periods and in the future include differentiated limitation clauses which in particular explicitly exclude statutory minimum wage claims in new employment contracts as well as in amendment and supplementary contracts to old and new employment contracts. To ensure transparency and as a precautionary measure, it is also advisable to explicitly exclude other legal claims that cannot be forfeit, such as claims for injury to life, body or health in such clauses.