Germany is known for being culturally rich in history and tradition. But this country is rich in other ways, too.
With annual sales of 2.9 trillion euro in goods and services, Germany has the strongest economy in Europe and one of the largest in the world, making it an especially attractive option for global expansion. For companies operating in Germany or looking to expand there, high-quality education and research institutes produce cutting-edge technology and a highly trained workforce. For employees, strong labor laws and protections make it an attractive place to work.
If employing workers in Germany is on your radar, it’s important to consider how labor laws and cultural norms can affect your growth and workforce strategy. Here are a few factors to weigh:
- German works councils: Under the Works Constitution Act, works councils can be set up in any private sector workplace with five employees or more. These union-like organizations serve to regulate cooperation between employers and employees and safeguard the economic and business interests of German workers. They promote higher wages for employees and have shown to increase productivity levels.
- Working hours: For German employees, work hours cannot exceed 48 hours per week, and employees must be granted 11 consecutive hours of rest away from work per day. The standard work week is defined as Monday to Saturday.
- Vacation: Employees who work a five-day work week are entitled to a minimum of 20 days per year in addition to public holidays, and collective bargaining agreements or works agreements may grant additional days off. It’s typical for German employees to have five to six weeks of paid annual leave.
- Holidays: The number of public holidays Germany observes varies in each federal state, ranging from the minimum of nine public holidays in some states to the maximum of 13 public holidays in others.
- Equality: Employers are required to provide men and women equal pay for equal work. Companies with more than 50 employees must complete an annual equality report comparing the average monthly salary of men and women in each professional category.
- Lifestyle: In Germany, high standards not only influence the workplace; they influence the beer-loving culture as well. The German beer purity law, known as the Reinheitsgebot, requires brewers to use only four natural ingredients: hops, barley, water and yeast. It is the world’s oldest food law that is still enforced today. Prost!
Whether you’re just beginning to explore growing your workforce in Germany, or you already have contractors in country and are looking to expand their roles compliantly, we can help you navigate the employment laws and cultural considerations that come into play.
To date, Safeguard Global has helped 50 companies employ more than 140 people in Germany. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our global solutions experts.