Temporary employment contracts

Temporary employment contracts

A temporary employment contract ends with the expiry of the agreed time, without it having to be terminated.

The failure of an employee, the planned retirement or the still uncertain number of patients in the newly established practice, all of which may be reasons why employers wish the employment contract to be limited.

Once an employment contract has been concluded for an indefinite period, employment protection provisions often apply, which make it difficult for the employer to terminate the contract. A fixed term offers employers the opportunity to decide again after the end of the contract whether they are interested in continuing their employment.

For the employee, a limitation means uncertainty. Since it is possible after the expiry of the agreed contract period to permanently lose the job, he can not plan his life in the longer term. Legally, the legislator has put the employee’s interest in safety in large parts of labor law over the interests of the employer.

Therefore, the time limit for an employment relationship is only permitted under certain conditions (Clause 14 Part-Time Law, TzBfG):

  • The limitation of an employment relationship must be in writing.
  • A time limit without a reason is limited to a maximum period of two years. Up to the total duration of two years, the maximum of three extensions of the time limit is permissible.
  • If employers can reasonably justify a material reason in accordance with Clause 14 (1) TzBfG, the time limit may also be extended for a period of more than two years. The reasons given are, for example, that the company‘s need for work is only temporary (for example, parental leave) or that the time limit for testing is limited. The list of reasons in Section 14 (1) TzBfG is not exhaustive.
  • The material reason employers do not have to specify in the employment contract. However, if there is a judicial review, you must state that it existed at the time of the agreement on the time limit.

A breach of the above-mentioned requirements will result in the time limit not being effectively agreed. The concluded employment contract then applies indefinitely. Therefore, make sure that the planned conclusion of the contract meets the criteria of section 14 TzBfG so that employers are no longer bound to the employment relationship as intended.

In addition to the agreement of an end date (time limit), practice owners can make the existence of the employment relationship dependent on the occurrence of a future event or the achievement of a specific purpose (purpose limitation). Such an approach is useful, for example, when hiring a diseased colleague. The event with which the contract should end is the recovery of the employee to be represented.

A temporary employment contract ends with the expiry of the agreed time, without it having to be terminated. According to clause 15 (2) of the TzBfG, a purpose-bound contract ends upon reaching the purpose, but at the earliest two weeks after receipt of the written notification of the employee by the employer about the date of the purpose. For example, you must write to your temporary employee to confirm that your colleague is well and back to work. Only two weeks after the receipt of this notification, the employment relationship ends.

Finally, a particularly important note: Arrange for temporary employment in the written employment contract a right to ordinary termination! If such an agreement is missing, the employment relationship can only be terminated extraordinarily. As a result, you would be bound to the employment relationship for the entire agreed contract period, if no important reason – such as a gross misconduct of the employee – occurs.

Sven Rothfuss, Cologne

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