As soon as an employee works for an employer, an employment contract is concluded.
The law does not prescribe a specific form for the conclusion of an employment contract; an employment contract can be concluded orally or in writing.
The parties to the employment contract can freely determine the contents of the employment contract. However, every employment contract should meet certain minimum criteria. The minimum requirements listed by German Employment Law should be agreed upon in writing. These include: the date on which the employment relationship begins; a brief description of the work to be performed; components and amount of pay; agreed working hours; amount of annual holiday; period of notice.
A void clause in a contract does not automatically invalidate the entire agreement. Usually the contract remains in effect and binding, with the exception of the invalid clause. The only consequence is that the employer cannot invoke the invalid clause.
If the employer wishes to conclude an employment contract for just a limited period, the contract must be concluded in writing pursuant to the fixed-term employment contracts act. An employee is deemed to be employed for a fixed term if he has concluded an employment contract stipulating a certain period. A fixed-term employment contract therefore ends on expiry of a specific term (time limit) or on completion of a certain task (purpose-related limit) without any need for dismissal.
If the employment contract has a purpose-related limit, the duration of the employment relationship is determined by the type or the purpose of the work to be performed. If the term has been limited, the employment relationship ends once a certain task has been completed. A typical example of a purpose-related limit is when someone is hired as a substitute for a sick employee and it is unclear when this employee will be able to return to work.
If you are an employer puzzled by German Employment Law or an employee who wants to make sure that your contract is legally correct please get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you.