Two months after the federal election, the leaders of the SPD, FDP and Greens yesterday presented the coalition agreement of the so-called traffic light coalition. This sets out the plans of the three parties for the next four years at the federal level. Particularly with regard to the topic of new working environments and new work, all the parties involved in the federal election campaign had emphasized that the legal framework would have to take account of the new realities in the future.
After the presentation of the paper, however, it is clear that there is no scope for end-to-end flexibilization in the future either. The paper states: “Within the framework of a temporary regulation with an evaluation clause to be concluded in 2022, we will make it possible for employees to organize their working hours more flexibly within the framework of collective agreements under certain conditions and within deadlines to be observed.”
This means that more than 50 percent of employees in Germany who are not employed under an industry-wide collective agreement are excluded from the outset from any potential opportunity to make working hours more flexible.
The situation is similar with regard to the maximum daily working time, where also “a limited possibility for deviation from the currently existing regulations of the Working Hours Act” is to be created “if collective agreements or company agreements, based on collective agreements, provide for this”.
In addition, with regard to the ECJ ruling on the recording of working time, the new coalition would like to examine in dialog with the social partners what need there is for adjustments in the area of working time law. In this context, the demand is also made that “flexible working time models (e.g. trust-based working time) must continue to be possible”.
The bottom line is that working time flexibility will continue to be subject to high legal hurdles in the future, particularly under the Working Time Act (ArbZG). Even though the coalition agreement calls for a significant expansion of home office and mobile work options, the lack of options in the area of flexible working time models will often prevent their implementation to the benefit of employees and employers.
Note: This blog article does not constitute legal advice and, in particular, cannot replace individual legal advice.