On January 3, 2012, Businessweek.com reported that unemployment in Germany fell more than originally forecast in December due to the boom of exports of cars and machinery, as well as the mild winter that resulted in additional construction jobs. For example, Audi AG, the German automobile manufacturer, announced it may add 1,200 jobs in 2012 due to its expanded investment in electric vehicles and light-metal technology. Airbus SAS, the jumbo jet manufacturer headquartered in Germany, recently stated it was planning to hire 4,000 more employees this year. This unexpected increase in Germany’s workforce in 2012 is a good reminder for employers that have employees in Germany, or are planning to hire workers in that country in the near future, to take steps to ensure they are knowledgeable about Germany's labor and employment laws. The purpose of this article is to provide some information on employees’ rights and employers’ obligations in Germany.
Germany is the European Union’s most populous nation, with over 81 million inhabitants. It has the largest economy in the European Union, and the fifth largest economy in the world. Germany is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals and household equipment. It has a highly-skilled workforce of over 43 million people, and is a leading country with multi-national facilities.
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