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Christine Wahlig
Attorney at law
Editorial Management

Alice Tanke
Marketing Manager


What’s new in 2022: The most important changes in labour law this year


The new year has already begun and various changes in labour law are regularly introduced by the turn of the year. Some of these changes were already implemented at the start of the new year. Others will be implemented in the course of the year. Hereinafter, we have summarised the most important changes in labour law for employers in 2022:

Gradual increase of the minimum wage

The statutory minimum wage has increased to 9.82 Euro per working hour as of 1  January. In a next step, the minimum wage will be increased to 10.45 Euro on 1 July 2022. However, it is to be expected that the Federal Government will implement its plan to further increase the minimum wage very soon, taking it to 12 Euro. The timing of said increase is yet unclear at this stage. It is however possible that the increase to 12 Euro will take effect on 1 July 2022 or 1 January 2023.

Special provisions on short-time work will still apply until the end of March 2022

Even at the beginning of the year, employers are (still) dependant on short-time work in many areas due to the ongoing pandemic. Against this background, it is good news that the special regulations regarding short-time work which are in force since the beginning of the pandemic will continue to apply into the new year. However, based on the current status, this will only be the case until 31 March 2022. Until then, the maximum eligibility period of 24 months can still be used. Furthermore, the increased benefit rates as well as the facilitated access to short-time allowances, according to which only 10% of the staff should be affected by a loss of work, will continue to apply. Further details can be found here.

Introduction of institution-related vaccine mandate

In December last year, the German Bundestag and the Federal Council passed an institution-related vaccine mandate. Employees in health and care facilities must prove by 15 March 2022 that they have been vaccinated, have recovered from the virus, or cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. This includes hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices, among others. Without presenting such evidence, employees are no longer allowed to perform their work. Employers must inform the competent health department if an employee did not present the evidence on time or if there are doubts as to whether the presented evidence is legit or correct.

Electronic registration for unemployment

In small steps, the legislator is pushing ahead with digitalisation of labour law in 2022. Since 1 January 2022, the new regulation on the electronic registration for unemployment came into force. Thus, in future, it will be possible to use a legally secure electronic form for unemployment registration in addition to the possibility of a personal visit.

Provision of the electronic certificate of incapacity from July 2022

After doctors have already had to record data on confirmed incapacity to work since 1 October 2021 and submit it to the corresponding health insurance of the insured employees on their own responsibility, the health insurances must now allow employers to download an electronic certificate of incapacity from 1 July 2022. The health insurances are to make an electronic report containing the name of the employee, the beginning and end of the medically confirmed incapacity to work, the date of issue as well as the classification as initial or follow-up certificate available for download. Consequently, certificates of incapacity can only be downloaded electronically at the health insurance. However, the „yellow notes“ will not disappear completely, they will then (only) be provided for the employee’s personal records. Employees no longer have to submit the certificate, but are only required to inform the employer of their incapacity to work and its expected duration without delay. 

Possibility of digital works meetings until March 2022

In December of last year, the regulations on digital works meetings were reintroduced in section 129 BetrVG (Works Constitution Act). For the time being, these will only apply until 19 March 2022 with the possibility of a one-time prolongation. On this legal basis, it is temporarily possible again to hold works meetings and conciliation committee meetings digitally. The possibility of conducting works meetings digitally has been permanently incorporated into law in section 30 (2) BetrVG since the Works Council Modernisation Act (Betriebsrätemodernisierungsgesetz) came into force.

Compulsory employer subsidy for deferred compensation

As of the beginning of the new year, employers who convert remuneration via pension funds, staff pension funds or direct insurances and save social security contributions through deferred compensation must grant an additional employer subsidy pursuant to section 1a (1a) BetrVG. This amounts to 15% of the converted remuneration. Alternatively, employers can calculate the social security contributions actually saved (in the particular case) and forward them to the pension funds, staff pension fund or the direct insurance as a subsidy. Until now, the obligation to provide a subsidy only applied to new commitments as of 1 January 2019 but has now been extended to all deferred compensation agreements. However, the regulation is dispositive of collective agreements, so that a deviation at the employee’s expense is possible through collective agreement provisions.

Simplification of status determination procedures

On 1 April 2022, several changes regarding status determination procedures aiming to simplify them will come into force. In future, instead of the compulsory insurance, the employment status will be determined, i.e. whether it is an employment or a self-employment. Based on a predictive decision, this assessment should already be possible before taking up employment. In addition, there is the possibility of group determinations in order to avoid divergent individual case decisions in similar cases as well as the review possibility in certain triangular cases in which third parties are involved in addition to the principal and the contractor.


Beyond these already established changes, there will certainly be further changes in labour law in 2022. In particular due to the contents of the new governing parties’ coalition agreement, further significant changes are to be expected. Next to an amendment to the Working Time Act, this also includes the announced Mobile Work Act (Mobile-Arbeit-Gesetz). For information on the changes in labour law in 2022 and the following years based on the coalition agreement, please click here.

Britta Alscher
Britta Alscher

Britta Alscher specializes in advising companies on compliance issues and the legal aspects of occupational health management.

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