Employment contracts are a legal basis for the employment relationship between employees and employers. But unlike many other areas of law, there are no formal requirements for employment contracts. This means that, in principle, it can be concluded without any formal requirements.
Despite this freedom of form, however, employers must observe some important legal aspects in order to make the employment contract legally compliant and legally secure. This includes not only legal requirements, but also current developments in case law.
In this article, we provide an overview of the most important legal framework for drafting employment contracts. In doing so, we show which contents should definitely be included in the employment contract and which pitfalls employers should avoid at all costs.
Find out what is important when drawing up employment contracts and how you as an employer can prevent legal conflicts.
Do employment contracts need a specific form?
In German law, there is no legal requirement as to what an employment contract must look like. This means that the employment contract can be drafted without any formalities.
At the same time, however, employers should make sure that they take all important information and regulations into account when drafting the employment contract. In particular, the provisions on working hours, vacation, probationary period and termination should be clearly set out in the employment contract.
However, due to the freedom of form, employment contracts can also be concluded orally. In practice, however, it is advisable to put the employment contract in writing.
In summary, it can be said that in practice employment contracts can be drafted without any formalities. Nevertheless, it is important that all important regulations are clearly and unambiguously regulated in the employment contract to avoid disputes.
The most important elements in an employment contract
Employment contracts are an important part of working life. They regulate the relationship between employer and employee and ensure that both parties are aware of their obligations and rights. Despite the freedom of form of an employment contract, there are some essential elements that should be included in every contract.
1. Working hours and place of work
Every contract should contain the agreed working hours and the place of work. It is important that both parties know exactly when and where the employee will work.
2. Compensation and vacation
Salary and vacation regulations are also important components of an employment contract. The amount of salary and the number of vacation days for the employee are specified here.
3. Periods of notice
Notice periods regulate how long a notice period is for both parties. It is important that both parties know when the employment relationship will end.
4. Special agreements
Sometimes the employer and employee need to make special agreements that are not included in the standard contract elements. For example, a confidentiality agreement may be necessary for certain positions.
By considering these important elements in an employment contract, a legally secure contract can be created for both employer and employee.
Importance of the wording in the employment contract
The employment contract is an important legal basis for both employer and employee. Despite the freedom of form, certain formulations and information must be included in the employment contract to ensure that it is legally sound. Clear and unambiguous wording in the employment contract is crucial to avoid conflicts between employer and employee.
The essential content in the employment contract includes information on the activity, working hours, remuneration, duration of the employment relationship, vacation entitlement and notice periods. The place of work and working conditions should also be clearly formulated. Legal requirements and provisions of collective agreements must be observed in this regard.
To ensure maximum legal certainty, it is advisable to have the employment contract reviewed by a lawyer. A well-drafted employment contract not only minimizes the risk of legal disputes, but also creates transparency and trust between employer and employee. The relationship of trust between both parties is particularly important to enable successful long-term working relationships.
- clear and unambiguous wording in the employment contract is crucial
- Information on the activity, working hours, remuneration, duration of the employment relationship, vacation entitlement and notice periods are essential content in the employment contract
- Legal requirements and provisions of collective bargaining agreements must be observed
- Have the employment contract reviewed by a lawyer
- well formulated employment contract creates transparency and trust between employer and employee
Special employment contracts and their formal requirements
Employment contracts are essential for the relationship between employer and employee. However, despite the freedom of form of employment contracts, there are special types of contracts that are subject to certain formal requirements.
These types of contracts include, for example, fixed-term employment contracts. They must always be concluded in writing. It is also possible to have a fixed-term contract without a material basis, but this may only be limited once and the maximum duration is two years.
Termination and settlement agreements are also subject to formal requirements. These must be concluded in writing and require the employee’s handwritten signature. In addition, the employee must be informed about the consequences of signing the contract before signing it.
- Similar is the case with the partial retirement contract. These must be concluded in writing and have a minimum duration of one year.
- Another special type of employment contract is the part-time contract. This is not subject to any special formal requirements, but the written agreement must contain both the weekly working hours and the scope of the working days.
It should always be noted that compliance with the formal requirements is crucial for the effectiveness and legal security of the employment contract. For this reason, when concluding a special employment contract, special attention should be paid to the fulfillment of the formal requirements.
Legal support in the drafting of employment contracts
Employment contracts are the most important basis for cooperation between employer and employee. It is important for both parties that they are legally secure and meet all the requirements for a contractual agreement. However, the freedom of form in the drafting of employment contracts poses a challenge, as certain points are not simply regulated by the requirements of a regulation or a law.
To ensure maximum security, it is advisable to draw on the expertise of lawyers with experience in labor law when drafting employment contracts. The lawyers can help to check the contracts for their compliance with the legal requirements and, if necessary, also assist in drafting employment contracts.
- Working with experienced lawyers can avoid the employer having to pay unexpected costs due to conflicts or lawsuits
- Legal support from lawyers helps to build the relationship between employer and employee on stable ground from the very beginning
- Lawyers can also help ensure that employment contracts are worded clearly and unambiguously to avoid misunderstandings or disagreements
In summary, it can be said that legal support in the drafting of employment contracts is an important investment in the future of the company and its employees. Involving experts with relevant experience helps to make contracts legally secure and thus minimize potential risks.