Employment contract

The purpose of an employment contract is to stipulate the terms of employment between employer and employee. These contracts can even span many decades. It is unfortunate for both parties when a dispute about individual provisions arises.

Effective, legally sound employment contract

For this reason, it is highly recommended that the employer uses a template for his/her employment contract and that the employee has someone review the contract.

There’s nothing more frustrating than the case where provisions on special payments such as bonuses, commissions, and Christmas bonuses are not worded transparently. These situations can lead to costly legal disputes.

Or it can mean that the fixed term contract that the employer intended is null and void. The provisions on transfers/redeployments are also riddled with minutiae. There are often problems with the wording of deadlines when employees are dismissed or exclusions added. They can lead to tremendous risks for both employee and employer. For this reason, it makes sense for both parties to conclude a contract that is effective and legally sound.

Law of general terms and conditions of business

The employer must also ensure that the employment contract does not violate the law of the General Terms and Conditions of Business (GTC). Pre-formulated employment contracts can be checked for their effectiveness by subjecting them to a content check according to §§ 307-309 German Civil Code. The clauses must be comprehensible and clearly formulated. In addition, the provisions must not unduly disadvantage the employee. If a clause is surprising or ambiguous, it is invalid. The invalid provision is then not part of the contract.

The regulations on main performance obligations cannot be part of such a content control. This includes agreements on the amount of the remuneration claim, the scope of the working time and the employee’s activity.

In practice, extensive case law has developed on the control of general terms and conditions of employment contracts. This must be observed above all in the case of preclusion periods, time limits for individual contract components, repayment clauses, overtime compensation clauses, transfer clauses, contractual penalties and reservations of revocation.

Service contract?

The difference between employment and service contracts and the risks involved in bogus self-employment can be found here.


Insurance for legal expenses do not cover the expenses for consulting a lawyer. For this reason, I charge a flat fee for drafting and reviewing employment contracts. Ask me for my fees ahead of time. Click here for more information on my fees for an initial consultation.