The expected reduction in bureaucracy in labor law

  • 03/22/2024
  • Reading time 2 Minutes

Digital employment contracts and temporary employment contracts will be permissible - Text form instead of written form

On March 21, 2024, the German Federal Minister of Justice Dr. Marco Buschmann announced that text form instead of written form will in future be sufficient in some employment law areas under the Bureaucracy Reduction Act IV. This will make it easier to conclude employment contracts and temporary employment contracts.

According to the German Employment Conditions Documentation Act, the essential working conditions must currently be communicated to the employee in writing. Written form requires an original signature of the authorized representatives on the printed paper to be submitted.

In future, it will be possible to provide proof of the essential contractual conditions in text form, provided the employee can access, save, and print the relevant document and the employer receives proof of transmission or receipt. This clarifies that the transmission of the proof in text form fully satisfies the requirements of the Employment Conditions Documentation Act. The employer has to provide written proof only if requested by the employees.

The written form when providing proof is to be maintained only in the case of employees who work in an economic sector specified in the German Act to Combat Illegal Employment, where there is a particular risk of abuse. These include, for example, the construction industry, restaurants and hostels, the freight forwarding, transport and logistics sector, forestry companies, building cleaning, trade fair construction and the meat industry.

In addition, the written form requirement for the temporary employment contract between the lender and the hirer pursuant to Art. 12 (1) sentence 1 of the German Temporary Employment Act (AÜG) is to be replaced by the text form. This is intended to further facilitate the conclusion of contracts and reduce the work and costs for both hirers and lenders.

These changes will allow for employment and temporary employment contracts to be concluded by email in future. This is a great relief, in particular for SMEs.

The specific wording in the respective laws and the date of entry into force remain to be seen.

It would be welcome if the written form requirement were to be replaced by text form also for fixed-term contracts and if it were extended to also apply to terminations.

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Author of this article

Kerstin Weckert


Attorney-at-Law (Rechtsanwältin), Specialist Lawyer in Labor Law, Licencié en droit, Mag. iur.

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