Company exercise: What rights do employees have?

What is actually an occupational exercise? And what do you as a worker have for rights related to this work exercise? If an employer practices certain behaviors on a regular basis, such as providing employees with certain benefits or benefits, then the employee can be confident that they will continue to receive these benefits in the future. But for the employer from voluntary benefits initially fast obligations. If there is a dispute, the employer can protect himself with an employer's legal protection, but what rights does the employee in operating exercises?

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Operational exercise: After three years freestyle is compulsory

Such an exercise is, for example, a special payment paid over several years, which does not result from contracts such as collective agreements or employment contracts, but which the employer grants on a voluntary basis. Such an occupational activity does not operate under collective bargaining or company agreements, but at the level of the employment relationship. Employees usually have legal entitlement to an occupational exercise from the fourth year onwards, that is, if, for example, a uniform special payment such as holiday pay or Christmas bonus has already been granted for three consecutive years. After regular repetition, this results in a legal claim to the respective service.

Which claims arise from a business exercise?

Several perks or benefits for the employee may fall under an occupational practice. Including financial subsidies such as food allowances, travel allowances or the assumption of training costs. The application of certain collective agreements in favor of employees, the granting of a parking space, as well as jubilee grants and other special payments may also become a right for employees through the company practice. Prerequisites are – as already mentioned – a regularity and a uniformity of performance. Incidentally, if these conditions are met for an occupational activity, the employer can not simply revoke your entitlement to the right in this way. If there are any difficulties regarding your rights to certain services, you are on the safe side with a professional legal protection.

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Occupational disease: These requirements apply

If an occupational disease is diagnosed, the employee is entitled to statutory accident insurance benefits. However, some conditions must be fulfilled so that a case of illness is indeed recognized and compensated. Often the trade association is responsible for this.

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Occupational disease must be recognized

Many occupational groups are particularly at risk of being burdened by a particular disease. Therefore, such a work-related illness is treated like an accident at work: the medical rehabilitation and the financial compensation of the patients is a case for the statutory accident insurance. In 1997, the Federal Government adopted the Occupational Diseases Ordinance (BKV). It contains a list of occupational diseases that are recognized as such. According to medical findings, they are caused by factors that are increasingly exposed to certain professional groups. For example, skin diseases caused by certain chemical substances or spinal diseases can occur due to the lifting of heavy loads. The BKV is accompanied by a list of diseases that are recognized in this context. If the disease is not on this list, it probably will not be confirmed to the person concerned as an occupational disease. This also applies if the illness is related to his professional activity. For example, mental illness is not on the list.

Employers' liability insurance makes assessment

The Landessozialgericht Baden-Württemberg dealt with a case of an engineer, who wanted to reduce his deafness as noise deafness to working in a large office and therefore wanted to have recognized as an occupational disease. However, the competent professional association, which decides as a carrier of the statutory accident insurance usually on such cases, rejected the recognition. Noise deafness is on the list of occupational diseases, but the noise exposure in the office has been measured and a medical opinion has shown that this burden is not sufficient as the cause of the disease. The court stated that the professional activity must actually be the cause of the damage to health and dismissed the action brought by the engineer in the second instance (Case L 6 U 4089/15). The professional association was thus right. Accordingly, in addition to the basic recognition of the disease as an occupational disease must also be provable that it was triggered by the activity of the person concerned.

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Workwear: Birds of paradise are not desired everywhere

A new tattoo, red patent leather shoes or colorful strands of hair – not always meet the new look of employees in the company on goodwill. And not always it's a matter of taste. What do workers have to keep in mind when looking at their appearance and their style of clothing? Which restrictions do you have to accept?

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The external appearance of the employees can be of great importance depending on the occupational field. "Workwear is the generic term for clothing that has to be worn during working hours," explains Ralph Muthers, Attorney at Law. Caspers, Mock & Partners. "This includes protective clothing, uniforms, outerwear and service clothing. The reasons for workwear can vary depending on the work area. They are mostly used for safety, protection, hygiene or to give a serious impression. "

However, not every rule regarding workwear needs to be accepted. The Federal Labor Court (BAG) was a pilot right, who complained against the obligation to wear a cap in his work. The court justified its decision by stating that female pilots, unlike their male counterparts, do not need to wear headgear. Therefore, according to the Federal Labor Court, the "company agreement service clothing" violates the principle of equal treatment and is therefore ineffective.

Warning due to a violation of the regulation of workwear

Each employer may issue rules for working clothes as part of his instructions. "This is usually a permissible restriction of the general personality right, which, of course, still applies to every employee," explains lawyer Muthers. Among other things, these rules may be justified by the protection of employees. For example, workers must wear a helmet or safety shoes. Also, as is common in food processing, gloves and hairnets may be prescribed.

In addition to clothing regulations for hygiene and safety reasons, the employer may in principle also give service clothing regulations. Possible reason for this would be a uniform and serious appearance of the company to the outside, for example by wearing uniform suits, jackets or ties.

As a general rule, if there is an overwhelming operational need and interest, regulations and specifications for workwear are generally permissible and effective. Therefore, workwear regulations should also be taken seriously for non-functional reasons. Lawyer Ralph Muthers emphasizes: "If an employee ignores the regulations, he must expect a warning."

Even if there are no rules on working clothes, you should be dressed according to your profession. "Greater flexibility does not mean that everything is allowed," says Muthers.

In addition to clothing regulations, there are always discussions or quarrels about tattoos or body jewelery of employees or applicants in the workplace.

Does the employer have to put on the work clothes?

Many workers ask themselves: If the employer prescribes a certain workwear in the job, does he have to put it on his own? When it comes to the protection of employees in the workplace, the Labor Protection Act (ArbSchG) in Section 3 stipulates that the employer must provide the protective clothing for risky activities free of charge. If the employer does not do so, the employee may even, depending on the individual case, even refuse to carry out the activity. In addition, it must be ensured that the protective clothing is intact and, if necessary, regularly cleaned. "It is different if the employee wears protective clothing for personal safety reasons," says the lawyer. "Then he can be proportionally or wholly involved in the cost of these workwear."

If there are no legal obligations for working clothes, employees and employers can collectively agree on workwear. The provisions made can be stated in the employment contract or in a company agreement. In these cases, the employee must also comply with the regulations. In these cases, the employee can usually be involved in the cost of workwear.

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Insult of supervisors – termination justified?

"You colleague pig!", It burst out of a worker, whereupon he cashed the notice. But when does the insult of superiors justify the sacking? The regional labor court Cologne decided in a concrete case (AZ 11 Sa 905/13). Tip: In employment disputes, you stand with a professional legal protection on the safe side.

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Gross insult to superiors justifies termination without notice

In the case of gross insult of superiors by employees, these can flourish without notice. Everyone knows it: The minds are heated during a dispute, the preservation of objectivity is increasingly difficult. Therefore, employers always have to respect proportionality in case of dismissal for insult.

Basically, however, the case law of the Federal Labor Court (BAG) determines: gross insults of superiors, employers or work colleagues constitute a significant violation of the contractual obligation to treat the contract – and justify an extraordinary, immediate dismissal by the employer.

The "colleague pig" case

The case, which was heard by the regional labor court in Cologne, concerned a technical employee who suffered from health problems. This led the employee back to working conditions at the test bench where he worked. After being unfit for work for four months, there was an interview regarding his reintegration into the factory.

As part of this, the employee wanted to be transferred to another team and called his current supervisor a "colleague pig". Ultimately, he agreed to the reintegration measures of his employer and the continued employment in his previous team, reports also "" on the verdict.

The verdict: A warning would have been more appropriate in terms of proportionality

Nevertheless, the company announced the employee for insulting superiors. Allegedly, the employee has repeatedly described his team leader in a defamatory manner as a "colleague pig".

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The employee then brought action for protection against dismissal and was right by the Landesarbeitsgericht Köln: Although there was a gross insult to superiors by the plaintiff, it should however be taken into account that it was a one-time incident – which also occurs in a confidential interview in the absence of the supervisor have. In the view of the Cologne judges a warning would have been the more appropriate reaction of the employer.

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Insult in the workplace by colleagues: threatening warning?

If it comes to an insult in the workplace by colleagues, the company peace is disturbed. Depending on the seriousness of the honor injury threatens a warning or even the termination without notice. The circumstances of the insult are used for the evaluation.

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What counts as an insult in the workplace?

An insult is an act or statement that is objectively capable of violating the honor of a colleague. In case of dispute, the court will examine the circumstances of the incident:

• Is there a rough or polite tone in the industry?
• Was the insult preceded by provocation by the colleague?
• Was it oral or written?
• Did she happen in private or in public?
• Was it the first incident of this kind?
• What educational level does the colleague have?

So these are always case by case decisions. As insufficient for dismissal considered the competent judge individual titles as "asshole" (Landesarbeitsgericht Schleswig-Holstein, AZ 4 Sa 474/09) or "wanker" (Landesarbeitsgericht Rheinland-Pfalz, AZ 2 Sa 232/11). An outstretched middle finger accompanied by the insult as "wanker", "asshole" and "poor pig" and other personal insults below the belt line justified, however, quite a termination without notice (Landesarbeitsgericht Hamm, AZ 18 Sa 836/04).

What are the consequences of being insulted in the workplace?

An insult by colleagues disturbs the company peace, which is a violation of the employee's employment obligations. As a rule, colleagues therefore receive a warning after being insulted at the workplace. In case of repetition (bullying) or a particularly violent insult, it can also lead to a termination without notice – especially in racially inciting comments practice the courts little indulgence.

Insult from colleagues – not just at work

An insult by colleagues in the workplace of course falls under the labor law. But comments outside of the company can disturb the peace of the company and thus justify a warning or termination. Offensive statements on Facebook, for example, are regularly heard in court.

So you should behave in insulting the workplace

Write down the exact circumstances and contents of the insult. Ask any witnesses for a description of the events. Then contact your supervisor. The employer has a duty of care and must protect you from such attacks. If he does not do that, you can resign and are entitled to compensation, sometimes even for damages.

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Pay back BAföG: Everything about loan repayment

The study is already several years behind you, but the loan repayment directly in front of you: You have to repay your BAföG. Worth knowing in connection with the repayment betrays you the Streitlotse.

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Pay back BAföG: how much?

The career entry has been successful – great! Now is the time to settle your debts. If you have studied at a university, academy or higher technical college and have received BAföG, you will normally have to repay half of the BAföG funding. The repayment of the government loan is handled by the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) in Cologne. This must always be informed about the current address of the repayers. Those who have taken up their studies on March 1, 2001 or later, must repay a maximum of 10,000 euros BAföG, even if the debt is greater.

When does the loan repayment begin?

Five years after the end of the maximum funding period, you have to repay your BAföG. If you have changed your degree program, the eligibility period of the last course of studies is decisive. The notification of the loan repayment reaches you approximately four and a half years after the end of the maximum funding period. The letter informs you about the installment amount as well as the repayment in general. The repayment is usually made in quarterly installments of at least € 315.

When is an exemption possible?

Should your net income not be sufficient in due course to repay the BAföG loan, you can apply for one year's leave. The income limit for an exemption from the repayment is currently 1,070 euros. As of 1 August 2016, the income limit will be increased to € 1,145. If your net income is below this amount, you may be exempted from the loan repayment on a temporary basis.

In case of legal trouble with the authorities, a private legal protection can help you.

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Semester abroad: what students need to know

A semester abroad is interesting for many students, but it also requires a certain organizational effort and early planning. For example, it is important to know whether the stay should take place via the ERASMUS program or be organized as a so-called free movers.

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Semester abroad with the ERASMUS program

Anyone wishing to spend their semester abroad in other European countries can do so through the ERASMUS program. The term stands for "European community action scheme for the mobility of university students" and denotes a large support program that supports students during their stays abroad. Each university has several partner universities and the allocation of seats is done by employees at the local university. The big advantage of this program is that it eliminates tuition fees. In addition, students receive a mobility grant of between € 50 and € 200 per month.

Prerequisite is the study at a European university as well as a European passport. Often, at least the second semester must be completed before the stay abroad begins. In addition, students must have sufficient knowledge of the language of instruction at the partner university. Participation in the ERASMUS program is only possible once. A consultation at the own university informs about the exact conditions and possibilities.

Formalities: Learning Agreement and Transcript of Records

In order to make the course achievements during the semester abroad as easy as possible for one's own degree program, a learning agreement is concluded in advance. The students decide on certain courses that they want to attend during their semester abroad and can thus be sure that they will receive the desired credit points. The transcript of records from the foreign university then lists the services provided after the semester.

As a free mover abroad

Semester abroad outside Europe is not possible through the ERASMUS program. However, students can apply directly to their desired university and organize their stay as a so-called free movers themselves. However, it should be remembered that the funding, including tuition fees, lies with the students themselves. Under certain circumstances, a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is possible. Also foreign BAföG can represent a support.

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Student work: 6 important legal aspects

Working as a student trainee is the ideal part-time job for many aspiring academics: study content can be combined with initial practical experience, which often makes starting a career easier – and you also earn money. What legal regulations there are for student labor contract and Co., you will find out here.

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Working as a working student: The basic requirements

In order to be employed as a student trainee, these requirements must be met:

  • You are a full-time full-time student enrolled at a university or college – not as part of a doctorate.
  • The study is your main activity.
  • You are not in a vacation semester.
  • You have not yet passed the 25th semester.
  • You have not taken your final exam yet.
  • In addition, a working student during the school year may not comprise more than 20 hours per week.

The following regulations are also to be considered:

1. Student's contract

  • As a student trainee, you are largely treated like a part-time employee by employment law. Your employer closes with you thus a student contract, which is quite similar to a normal employment contract.
  • Among other things, it contains information on remuneration, leave and regulations for illness – because, like a "real" permanent employee, you, as a working student, have the right to receive sick pay if you are ill.
  • In addition, the student work contract usually has a passage that links the employment relationship to the condition that you are enrolled as a student.
  • Also, the limitation of the weekly working time to 20 hours can be listed with reference to the student work status.
  • Attention: A student contract is not the same as a contract for work. In the latter you work freelance and are not employed in the company.

2. Working hours and holidays

There may be exceptions to the 20-hourly hours regulation

  • if your activity is limited to a maximum of three months ,
  • if you work only on the weekend, in the evening or at night
  • and in the lecture-free time.

Otherwise, you are strictly bound by the 20-hour rule. This is also important for social security – more on that below.

How these hours are distributed over the individual days of the week can be regulated individually with your employer. Good to know: Your holiday entitlement as a working student depends on how many days a week you work – as with other employees.

  • If it is 5 working days a week, you are entitled to at least 20 holidays a year.
  • 4 working days per week results in 16 holidays per year
  • and for 3 working days per week, 12 holidays per year.

3. Salary

As a working student you fall under the minimum wage scheme. Your work must therefore be remunerated at least with 9,19 euros per hour (as of 2019, from 1 January 2020: 9.35 euros per hour). In some industries, however, higher salaries are more common for working students.

The classic working student job usually goes beyond the time scope of a mini-job – and accordingly, the monthly salary is often higher than 450 €. As a result, there are some peculiarities regarding social security and taxes.

4. Social Security

As a working student, you are partially exempt from social security. In the unemployment insurance you do not have to deposit – in the pension insurance, however, already.

With the pension insurance there is no exception for students, that is: who is working, must pay pension contributions, even as a working student. The only exception: If you do not earn more than 450 euros per month, you can be exempted from the pension insurance as a marginal employee on application to the employer.

Here, it should be weighed: Although the liberation ensures that a little more of the reward lands on your account. At the same time, however, you waive contribution periods in the statutory pension insurance, which increase your future pension entitlement.

And what about the health and long-term care insurance ? You are not insured by the employer. You have to pay as a student student only in the health and care insurance, if you

  • … are 25 years or older
  • … and / or regularly earns more than € 445 a month (as of May 2019).

In both cases, the family insurance no longer applies to your parents and you as a student automatically in the student compulsory insurance.

Even with the 20-hour rule , the health insurance company usually looks exactly: If you exceed this weekly number of hours, you should – and also in the semester break – for safety's sake, clarify with your health insurance and have approved to the status as a working student not to lose.

5. Wage tax

If you pursue a working student, you will be upgraded to a income tax bracket. If you are unmarried and have no children, this is, for example, the tax code I. Here applies: payroll tax you have to pay only if you earn more than 950 euros per month.

Due to the current working time restriction, many working students do not even reach this amount. If you are liable to pay income tax, it may be worthwhile to file a voluntary tax return later – so you can get back some of the tax paid.

6. Child benefit and student loan

If you refer to Bafög , you may also have as a working student only income up to a certain limit (as of May 2019: 5,400 euros gross per year or 450 euros a month). If you earn more, there are deductions at Bafög.

You will receive child support for you as long as you are under 25 and you are in your first education – regardless of what you earn as a working student. Again, of course, again the 20-hour control is observed.

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Deduct student costs: what is possible?

You can deduct your tuition from the tax. Of course you have to make a tax return. Even for students with very low incomes, this can be worthwhile and especially for a second study, tuition and other costs can bring considerable tax benefits.

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First degree: Deduct student costs as special expenses

Tuition costs count during initial vocational training – that is, if the study has not been preceded by teaching or the like – as a cost of private living and are therefore tax deductible with special taxes of up to 6,000 euros. The sticking point: special editions always apply only to the year in which they occur, and can not be postponed. This means that the stated tuition costs only bring tax relief if you currently earn so much that you are liable to income tax. That would require income of just under 10,000 euros per year. That's just how few students earn.

However, the Federal Finance Court sees the discontinuation of tuition fees and Co. as special expenses critical, so that the Federal Constitutional Court is currently examining the situation. A verdict is not expected before 2018.

Secondary studies and dual studies: specify study costs as income-related expenses

Those who work and study at least in equal parts – for example, in the context of a dual study course or part-time – can deduct the study costs as so-called income-related expenses. Advertising costs serve the maintenance of the professional activity and can be claimed in unlimited amount for tax purposes. If you currently do not earn enough to earn the costs you have incurred, you can apply for a loss carryforward and keep taking your losses over the next year until you earn enough to actually reduce your income tax burden with the deductible tuition costs ,

Which study costs are deductible?

In principle, it is worthwhile to keep all the receipts that arise in connection with the study, because the costs for:

  • Interest on a student loan
  • Examination and tuition fees
  • work equipment
  • Postage to the university (especially in distance learning)
  • Trips to study events
  • Rental and additional costs with double housekeeping

If you no longer have all the receipts, you can also claim lump sums for many items in order to benefit from the tuition fees for tax purposes. Under certain circumstances, tax relief may make it economically worthwhile to study at a later age.

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Broadcasting contribution for students: Is an exemption possible?

Is the broadcasting fee also compulsory for students? There are some exceptions, but usually they also have to make the contribution of € 17.50 per month to be paid by each household.

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When do students not have to pay a broadcasting fee?

In the following cases students do not have to pay a broadcasting fee:

• still live with the parents
• under 25 years old, parents are exempt from the broadcasting fee
• Spouse is exempt from the license fee
• approved application for exemption

As a rule, people who are severely handicapped or receive social benefits are exempted from payment – as a rule, the BAföG is the decisive factor for students. Although hardship applications are possible, they are hardly ever approved in reality. Important: The receipt of social benefits alone does not automatically lead to an exemption from the broadcasting fees for students – this requires an official application to the Fee Collection Center.

How can students get rid of the broadcasting fee?

The fee collection center website has a pre-printed application that must be completed and submitted with a copy of the BAföG notice, preferably within two weeks of approval of the training grant. While a certified copy was needed in the past, a simple one is enough today.

Also new since 2017: The exemption from the broadcasting fee is possible up to three years retroactively. Even former students may be able to recover their broadcasting fees under certain circumstances.

Shared room and dorm: What counts for the GEZ as an apartment?

The apartment is a room that is suitable for sleeping and accessible via a public corridor; no matter if bathroom and kitchen are available. A room in a dorm can therefore also be considered an apartment as a fully equipped shared apartment with multiple residents. Students in the dorm therefore often pay only the broadcasting fee of 17.50 euros a month, while a three-person flat share the costs by three. If one of the students is exempted from the obligation to contribute, this does not apply to the whole shared flat.

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