Germany: Stichtagsklausel bei arbeitsvertraglicher Inbezugnahme von Tarifverträgen

Last Updated: 6 August 2018
Article by Martin Greßlin
Most Read Contributor in Germany, September 2018

In Tarifverträgen kann der Anspruch auf eine jährliche Sonderzahlung, mit der auch geleistete Arbeit vergütet wird, vom Bestand des Arbeitsverhältnisses zu einem Stichtag außerhalb des Bezugszeitraums im Folgejahr abhängig gemacht werden. Dies gilt auch dann, wenn die Tarifverträge lediglich auf Grund arbeitsvertraglicher Bezugnahme anwendbar sind und die Tarifverträge in ihrer Gesamtheit einbezogen werden.

BAG, Urteil v. 27.06.2018 – 10 AZR 290/17

Die Parteien streiten über die Rückzahlung einer jährlichen Sonderzahlung auf Grund des Ausscheidens des beklagten Arbeitnehmers. Der Beklagte war seit 1995 als Busfahrer in dem Verkehrsunternehmen der Klägerin tätig. Auf Grund einzelvertraglicher Bezugnahme fand ein Tarifvertrag Anwendung, der einen Anspruch auf eine bis zum 1. Dezember eines Jahres zu zahlende Sonderzuwendung regelte. Diese Sonderzuwendung dient auch der Vergütung für geleistete Arbeit. Die Sonderzuwendung ist vom Arbeitnehmer zurückzuzahlen, wenn er in der Zeit bis zum 31. März des folgenden Jahres aus eigenem Verschulden oder aus eigenem Wunsch aus dem Beschäftigungsverhältnis ausscheidet. Der Beklagte kündigte das Arbeitsverhältnis im Oktober 2015 mit Wirkung zum Januar 2016. Mit der Gehaltsabrechnung für den Monat November 2015 zahlte die Klägerin an den Beklagten die tarifliche Sonderzuwendung in Höhe eines Monatsentgelts. Nach-dem das Arbeitsverhältnis geendet hatte, verlangte die Klägerin die ausgezahlte Sonderzuwendung nach den tarifvertraglichen Regelungen zurück. Der Beklagte verweigerte dies mit der Berufung auf die Unwirksamkeit der Tarifvorschrift. Diese stelle eine unverhältnismäßige Kündigungsbeschränkung dar und verstoße damit gegen das Grundrecht auf Berufsfreiheit (Artikel 12 Abs. 1 GG).

Das Arbeitsgericht und das Landesarbeitsgericht als Vorinstanzen haben der Klage auf Rückzahlung statt-gegeben. Auch die Revision des Beklagten hatte vor dem 10. Senat des Bundesarbeitsgerichts keinen Er-folg.

Der 10. Senat stellte zunächst fest, dass nach der bisherigen Rechtsprechung die streitgegenständlichen Rückzahlungsregelung unwirksam wäre, wenn sie als arbeitsvertragliche Regelung einer AGB-Kontrolle (nach § 307 Abs. 1 BGB) zu unterziehen wäre. Allerdings unterlägen in ihrer Gesamtheit arbeitsvertraglich einbezogene Tarifverträge keiner solchen AGB-Kontrolle. Diese finde nur bei einer Abweichung von Rechtsvorschriften statt (§ 307 Abs. 3 S. 1 BGB). Die Rückzahlungsverpflichtung des Beklagten aus der tarifvertraglichen Stichtagsregelung verstoße auch nicht gegen höherrangiges Recht. Den Tarifvertragsparteien stehe auf Grund der grundgesetzlich geschützten Tarifautonomie (Artikel 9 Abs. 3 GG) ein weiter Gestaltungsspiel-raum zu, über den Arbeitsvertrags- und Betriebspartei-en nicht im gleichen Maß verfügten. Ihnen stehe eine Einschätzungsprärogative zu, soweit die tatsächlichen Gegebenheiten, die betroffenen Interessen und die Regelungsfolgen zu beurteilen seien. Darüber hinaus verfügten sie über einen Beurteilungs- und Ermessensspielraum hinsichtlich der inhaltlichen Gestaltung der Regelung. Tarifvertragsparteien seien dabei nicht verpflichtet, die zweckmäßigste, vernünftigste oder gerechteste Lösung zu wählen. Es genüge vielmehr, wenn es für die getroffene Regelung einen sachlich vertretbaren Grund gäbe. Die streitgegenständliche tarifvertragliche Regelung bewirke zwar eine Einschränkung der geschützten Berufsfreiheit des Arbeitnehmers, sei hier aber noch verhältnismäßig. Die Grenzen des gegen-über einseitig gestellten Regelungen in Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen erweiterten Gestaltungsspielraums der Tarifvertragsparteien sei nicht überschritten.

Praxistipp:

Die Entscheidung des 10. Senats liegt bislang nur als Pressemitteilung vor. Sie enthält in der Sache letztlich nichts Neues. Vollumfänglich per Arbeitsvertrag in Bezug genommene Tarifverträge unterliegen keiner AGB-Kontrolle. Damit mahnt die Entscheidung allerdings Arbeitgeber gleichsam zur Sorgfalt bei der Arbeitsvertragsgestaltung. In der Praxis werden häufig Tarifverträge nicht vollumfänglich in Bezug genommen, sondern lediglich einzelne Klauseln oder einzelne Sachbereiche (z.B. Urlaub, Arbeitszeit). Nach ganz überwiegender Auffassung unterliegt bei einer arbeitsvertraglichen Verweisung auf einzelne Klauseln eines Tarifvertrages die in Bezug genommene Klausel der AGB-Kontrolle. Wird hingegen auf abgrenzbare Sachbereiche verwiesen unterliegen die in Bezug genommenen Regelungen keiner AGB-Kontrolle. Die Krux in der Praxis liegt wiederum darin festzustellen, wann überhaupt ein Verweis auf einen abgrenzbaren Sachbereich vor-liegt. Eine unbesehene Rosinenpickerei" des Arbeitgebers durch Teilverweisung auf Tarifverträge ist daher nicht möglich.

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