Although temporary employment agreements are generally more acceptable than in the past, they are still not seen kindly in Germany. Temporary employment agreements for under a two-year period do not pose a problem. However, an employer must have legally good grounds for concluding a temporary agreement for longer than two years (unless the employer is a newly-formed company, in which case a temporary employment agreement may be for up to four years). Otherwise, the agreement will not constitute a temporary employment agreement and the employee at issue may enjoy the statutory protection against termination.
German statutory law sets forth that the duration of an employment agreement must be in writing. A June 23, 2004, decision of the Federal Labor Court held that the statutory language regarding temporary employment agreements must be read literally. According to this same decision, only the fact that the employment relationship is temporary must be in writing, meaning that the specific duration of the employment relationship must be set forth. Other aspects of the employment agreement do not necessarily need to be in writing nor do the grounds for the temporary nature of the employment relationship need to be set forth in writing.
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