Glossary

Accident at work

This is an accident that happens during work or on the way to and from work (there or back). Accidents are events that suddenly have an external impact on the body and can cause injuries.

Basic account

This is an account at the bank that anyone can open, including homeless people or people without a registration address in Germany. With the basic account you can deposit, withdraw and transfer money (including direct debits or standing orders). You get an EC card with which you can also pay electronically.

Urgent proceedings before the Labour court

If things have to be done quickly, workers can take legal action in an urgent procedure. This applies among other things also for the payment of wages. They just have to show that they are absolutely dependent on the wages.

ELSTAM

ELSTAM is the abbreviation for Elektronische LohnSTeuerAbzugsMerkmale which means Electronic income tax deduction features. The tax is calculated electronically by the Tax Office. For this, the Tax Office needs information such as tax class, allowances, church affiliation. These are ELSTAM data. This information is in every pay slip. You can also view them online, you have to register on the Internet at www.elster.de (online Tax Office).

Duty of care of the employer

The employer has a duty of care for his workers: He is responsible for the health and protection of the interests of his workers. Among other things, he has to protect them from bullying and is obliged to give them important information.

Guaranteed wage (default wage)

When workers show up for work but the employer says he has no work for them, this is called default of acceptance. Even then, the workers must continue to be paid. They do not have to work these times afterwards. The wages you get for this time are called guarantee or default wages.

General contractor liability

If employers do not pay wages, workers can claim the wages. The law states that the general contractor must ensure the payment of wages, at least the minimum wage, even when subcontracting is used.

Trade union legal protection

Every member of a trade union receives help and support with legal problems in all questions of labour and social law. If you have to go to court, the trade union lawyer will represent trade union members. You do not have to pay anything for this.

Conciliation meeting

This is the first appointment in the Labour court. Before the oral hearing begins, the dispute can be settled in a conciliation meeting. Workers and employers try to come to an agreement during the conciliation meeting. If the dispute ends in the conciliation meeting, you have to make a compromise and partially forego your rights, but you save money and time.

Insolvency benefits

When employers have a lot of debts and cannot pay the bills, they are bankrupt. In this case, the Employment Agency pays a compensation for the missing wages on application by the workers, the so-called Insolvency benefits. Insolvency benefit is paid for the last three months prior to bankruptcy. Insolvency benefit is paid even if the company of the employer is permanently closed.

Holding back of services

If workers do not receive their wages for a longer period of time, they can refuse to work. However, they must explain to the employer that they will not do any work until they receive their wages. This is called Holding back of services. The workers must also be paid for this time even though they do not come to work.

Dunning procedure

A dunning procedure is a quick and easy judicial procedure that aims to enforce the right to payment of wages. There is no oral hearing. The dunning procedure ends with the enforcement order. An enforcement order is like a judgment.

Notification obligation

It is a legal requirement that you register at the Population registration office at your new place of residence and provide your home address. For example, you have to take your rental agreement with you as proof.

Public delivery

It can happen that the employer has moved, i.e. you do not know where he or she now lives. However, the letters from the court must be sent to him or her in order for them to have legal effect. If you do not know the new address and cannot find it out, you can post the letter in the judicial building. This replaces sending by post.

Legal aid

If you do not have much money, you can get legal aid. This means that the State pays the lawyer. However, the legal aid must be applied for. You apply for it at the Labour court. The Labour court checks whether you have a chance of winning the case. If so, legal aid can be obtained under certain conditions.

Legal application office of a Labour court

This is an office at the Labour court. If someone does not have a lawyer, they can show the employment contract and the notice of dismissal and explain what they want from the employer. The worker will summarise the facts in writing. But he or she cannot calculate how much money you have to get and cannot give legal advice either. How to get to the Legal application offices and the opening times can be found on the website of the relevant Labour court. The help of the Legal application office is free of charge.

Bogus self-employment

Someone has registered a business and officially calls themselves a company. In reality, however, you are an employee and not a company. That means you only have one boss. You do not advertise yourself and do not look for additional jobs. The boss determines from what time to what time you have to work, gives you tools, pays per hour, controls the work and says how to do it. If that is the case, then you are bogus self-employed.

The collective agreement

A contract always needs two parties. In the case of a collective agreement, these are a Trade union and an Employers’ association. The State does not participate. The collective agreement improves working conditions. The collective agreement determines how much money the workers receive. Other working conditions are also specified in the collective agreement e.g. working hours, holiday days or Christmas bonus are regulated. Since prices are rising steadily (inflation), the existing collective agreements are regularly renegotiated.

Compulsory enforcement

If there is a court ruling, the employer must do what is in the court ruling, e.g. pay the wages. If the employer does not do this voluntarily, that decision is transferred to a bailiff. He carries out a compulsory enforcement, i.e. he looks for money and other valuables from the employer, which are then used to pay the debts of the employer.

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