Statutory Rights Created
The statutory rights created by a continuous period of employment are the following:
- Once the employment is automatically converted into indefinite-term employment (that is, after completion of a probationary period of up to six months or when fixed-term employment exceeds two years in a five-year period), the employment can only be terminated based on objective grounds (see Question 13, Protection Against Dismissal) and with at least one month's notice. The longer the employment period of the employee, the higher up the employee is on the last in, first out list (see Question 15, Procedural Requirements). Employees are laid off in order of their starting dates, beginning with the employee who has been employed for the shortest period.
- Employees who have been employed for at least 12 months during the last three years have a priority right to re-employment during a period of nine months after the notice period has expired, provided that new positions in the same office become vacant.
What rights do employees have when their employment or employment contract is terminated?
The employer's notice period depends on the duration of the relevant employee's employment. The notice period at a minimum is always at least one month and is gradually extended up to a maximum period of six months. These notice periods can be waived in collective agreements but not in individual agreements. Longer notice periods in individual agreements are legal.
Where employees have grossly neglected their obligations to the employer, they can be dismissed with immediate effect (summary dismissal).
The employee's statutory notice period is one month, but it can be amended in individual or collective agreements.
There is no statutory severance payment. An employee is entitled to their salary and other benefits during the notice period, even if not assigned any work tasks.
Procedural Requirements for Dismissal
The employer has the following obligations when terminating an employment contract:
- The notice of termination must be given in writing.
- The notice of termination must include instructions on the procedure to make claims due to the termination (that is, to make a claim that the notice of termination be declared invalid and sue for damages). The notice of termination must also include information on whether the employee is entitled to re-employment and how re-employment can be claimed.
- If termination is due to reasons relating personally to the employee (that is, not redundancy), the employee must be notified of the imminent termination at least two weeks in advance. The employee must be notified of summary dismissal at least one week in advance. If the employee is a union member, the employer must notify the employee's local trade union at the same time as notice is given to the employee.
Non-compliance with the procedural requirements does not affect the validity of the termination but can result in liability for damages. For more information on consultation requirements before terminating employment, see Question 16, Consultation.
What protection do employees have against dismissal? Are there any specific categories of protected employees?
Protection Against Dismissal
Grounds for Dismissal. Dismissal must be based on objective grounds except for termination during the probationary period. Objective grounds can be either for personal reasons or because there is a need to make redundancies. The following criteria must all be met to legally terminate an employment for personal reasons:
- The reasons must be relevant to the employment relationship.
- The reasons must be real, that is, not be based on rumours or assumptions.
- The reasons must refer to the employee having breached or failed to meet a significant obligation in the employment relationship.
- The employer cannot have known about the reasons for more than two months.
- The employer must have considered all reasonable alternatives to dismissal.
Where an employee has grossly neglected their obligations to the employer, they can be summarily dismissed.
There is no particular category of protected employees apart from trade union representatives. However, the requirement of objective grounds for terminating employment in effect provides protection from discriminatory dismissal.