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HR Policies in Germany

hr policies in germany

Human Resources Management (HRM) involves assuring that for each task there are enough qualified and motivated employees available. Furthermore, HRM seeks to ensure regulations comply with statutory laws without violating equality or anti-discrimination rules.

However, implementation of HRM principles is determined by labor market institutions; making it difficult to transfer US-style policies to Germany.

Employee handbooks and company policies

As Germany stands apart from many jurisdictions when it comes to employment law, companies should exercise extreme caution when creating employee handbooks or GTC of employment for staff in German operations. Due to German labor and employment law’s stringent standards, any rule that does not comply could be declared null and void, leading to fines or even making the company liable in a lawsuit.

Employers must adhere to several laws when terminating employees, including the Unfair Dismissal Act which mandates having an acceptable reason and providing at least four weeks’ notice period before taking action against employees. Furthermore, companies are required to acquire a permit from Temporary Agency Workers Act before engaging in temporary worker employment – with strict guidelines set out on legalities regarding temp worker employment being in effect as per Temporary Agency Workers Act as well as Bundesgesetz uber Arbeitszeit that stipulates full-time employees receive at least 24 days leave annually ( including public holidays).

Under German labor law, employees who cannot join a trade union can elect a works council as their representative to negotiate on their behalf with their employer over workplace conditions, wage structures and mass layoffs. Furthermore, works council members are involved in the decision-making process for important matters like new hires, changes of location or closure of businesses.

Disciplinary and grievance procedures

Germany does not mandate companies to establish formal disciplinary and grievance processes, but employees should be made aware of any that exist and informed as to who to contact in case of questions or issues.

Employee discontent can quickly escalate to strike-like actions such as strikes and lockouts, making disciplinary and grievance procedures an essential element. Employees may complain of poor working conditions such as too few breaks and health and safety issues; or feel like other staff members are receiving preferential treatment over themselves.

Complaints against employees can be lodged either through a company’s human resources department or taken directly to a labour court for adjudication. A decision from either body will be binding and could lead to reprimands, warnings, fines or dismissals as appropriate.

Germany labour courts take several factors into consideration when making their decisions on employee dismissals. These include an employee’s freedom of opinion and duty of loyalty; public interest in being informed; as well as protecting a company’s reputation. Employers must inform employees of the reasons for their dismissal and allow sufficient time for defense during hearings and disciplinary interviews with union representatives or fellow workers of their choice being present during these interviews.

Foreign workers

As Europe’s biggest economy faces shortages of doctors, teachers, and tech workers, its government is searching for ways to relax immigration rules. When SPD’s Olaf Scholz took on finance ministry duties last month he made recruiting workers from overseas a top priority; but changing immigration rules has met resistance both at home and abroad as some politicians fear reducing wages could reduce German living standards while others feel it would only benefit wealthy foreigners.

Germany has long had a tradition of hiring foreign workers. Up until the late 1970s, Germany employed Gastarbeiter in industrial jobs with the understanding that they would eventually return home and fuel local economies through remittances while providing young people with work experience. Due to economic fluctuations brought on by oil crises however, this policy was eventually discontinued.

Today, skilled professionals from outside of the EU can gain residency permits in Germany with help from start-up grants from research institutions and public bodies. However, to qualify, individuals need a university degree and enough money to support themselves without working. Most often they will have the choice between having German law govern the employment relationship or using local laws of their home countries as the framework; regardless, tax and social security contributions will need to be paid when working here.

Gender equality

To promote gender equality effectively, those working in this area require a well-thought out and effective gender strategy that sets goals, accountability frameworks and conducts regular reviews on progress reports.

Implementation of policy requires having access to resources like staff training. Furthermore, its integration into daily work activities should reflect on organisational culture.

Olaf Scholz’s center-left coalition government has issued new guidelines that provide a broad framework for incorporating women’s rights and gender perspectives into various areas of Germany’s foreign policy, including peace negotiations and humanitarian aid delivery, climate diplomacy, international democracy support, foreign trade and investment (but oddly not energy policy).

Guidelines also highlight three specific goals, namely gender mainstreaming, budgeting and internal diversity management. Gender mainstreaming entails including gender considerations into all German external engagement policies while internal diversity management promotes more inclusive workplaces at the BMZ and its partner institutions – helping deliver on its commitments under UN Sustainable Development Goal 5. Lastly, new guidelines call for continuation of the three-pronged approach taken since 2014 by Germany in their development cooperation – mainstreaming, women’s empowerment and political participation being key areas.

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