European Employment Law Update — January 2014: Germany

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Development: the Federal Labour Court ruled (again) on provisions concerning reimbursement of training costs. The court held that a provision regarding the reimbursement of training costs must be drafted carefully and must determine the exact risk/liability to the employee.

Impact: the Federal Labour Court has held that a provision concerning the reimbursement of vocational training costs (Fortbildungskosten) by an employee was not transparent and was therefore invalid as the employee could not recognise the amount of training costs that he/she was obliged to pay back.

The court ruled on a provision that stated that in case the employee terminates the employment he/she would be obliged to fully or partially reimburse the employer’s expenditures on vocational training. The relevant provision determined that if the employment ended within a year of the training taking place, the employee would be obliged to reimburse all training costs; if the employment ended within two years, the employee would be obliged to reimburse two thirds of the training costs; and if the employment ended within three years, the employee would be obliged to reimburse one third of the training costs. The actual training costs were, however, not stated in the agreement…

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