As usual, there are some important changes in employment law that went into effect at the beginning of the new year. We have prepared an overview over the most important new regulations that employers may want to be aware of:
Statutory minimum wage
The statutory minimum wage was raised again as of January 1, 2022. The gross hourly wage now has to at least be EUR 9.82. The planned increase to EUR 12.00 by the new German coalition government will also happen very soon, at least an according regulation is planned to be implemented sometime this year.
The exemption limit for non-cash benefits that employers can pay their employees tax-free has increased from EUR 44 to EUR 50 per month from January 1, 2022. Another new aspect is that a cash card or vouchers will have to meet the stricter requirements of Sec. 2 (1) No. 10 of the Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG) from January 1, 2022 in order to remain tax-free. This means that only earmarked merchant and merchandise group cards and vouchers will be possible.
Short-time work allowance
The temporary special regulations for short-time work allowances due to the Covid-19 pandemic have essentially been extended until March 31, 2022. For full details on short-time work allowances in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, please see our article.
Digital company meetings
Shortly before the turn of the year, the Bundestag and Bundesrat reintroduced some pandemic-related special regulations that had expired on June 30, 2021. This means that, among other things, works meetings, works council meetings and youth and trainee meetings can be held digitally (again). The regulations are initially limited until March 19, 2022, but can be extended once by three months by the Bundestag.
Electronic registration of unemployment
The new regulation on electronic unemployment registration has also come into force. As of January 1, 2022, unemployed persons are not only be able to register in person at the relevant employment agency, but are also able to do so electronically. The new, legally secure electronic unemployment registration requires the use of an ID card with the so-called “online ID function”. Accordingly, employees should in future be only reminded of their obligation to register as jobseekers without delay in notices of termination and termination or settlement agreements instead of having to do so in person, as was previously the case.
Change in the area of occupational pension provision
Already for contracts since January 1, 2019, the employer must provide a statutory subsidy for the company pension of its employees if they spend part of their salary on a company pension through a so-called deferred compensation. The amount of the statutory employer’s allowance is based on the social security contributions actually saved as a result of the deferred compensation, but is a maximum of 15% of the converted amount. From January 1, 2022, the obligation to pay this statutory employer’s allowance also appies to so-called old contracts, i.e., all contracts concluded before January 1, 2019.
It should be noted, however, that these regulations can be deviated from in collective agreements to the benefit or detriment of employees.
Reform of the Status Determination Procedure
Important changes will come into force for the Status Determination Procedure from April 1, 2022. We will inform you about this in detail here.
Works council elections 2022
A number of legal changes also apply to the upcoming works council elections in 2022. Read our article on this subject.
We will be happy to advise you individually on what the innovations mean for you and your company. We will of course keep you up to date on further developments in legislation, case law and practice.