More bureaucracy: the German proof law has been tightened

_ Yuri Kofner, economist, MIWI Institute. Commentary for the German newspaper Tagesstimme. Munich, 24. August 2022.

At the beginning of August 2022, a new draft law by the German federal government to implement an EU directive on “transparent and predictable working conditions” came into force. In June, AfD and CDU/CSU voted against it in the Bundestag.

The directive from Brussels and the federal law that implements it represent another immense bureaucratic burden for German employers, companies and employees. As always, small and medium-sized companies will be hit harder than large corporations.

According to the law, information and documentation obligations under labour law and their deadlines can hardly be implemented and thus lead either to a decrease in the number of jobs or to an increase in undeclared work.

For example, already from 1 August 2022 (after a period of 7 days at the latest), the employment contract must document the following points in great detail, including the composition and amount of the wages, the agreed working hours, the termination regulations, rest breaks, conditions, form of and compensation for overtime and much more. All this in such a meticulous way that employees and employers themselves often do not know what to state. If in doubt, something has to be written down. New Soviet bureaucracy par excellence.

Because violations now also threaten a fine of up to 2,000 euros.

Furthermore, according to the draft law, the compulsion that all working conditions must be recorded in writing and electronic signatures are not acceptable. This completely contradicts the general effort to digitize the economy and save paper.

In the context of the energy transition crisis and ongoing corona restrictions with the now threatening gas and electricity rationing, the enforcement of these new, tightened bureaucratic requirements is once again a particularly cynical additional burden for companies, municipalities and citizens.

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