August 07, 2018

Legal framework for part-time employment

Legal framework for part-time employment

Part-time employment and flexible working hours are ways of organizing everyday working life. They have proven to be effective means to meet employers’ and employees’ demands alike.

General Entitlement

Part-time employment is regulated by the German Part-time and Fixed-term Employment Act (Teilzeit- und Befristungsgesetz). In general, every employee is entitled to claim a permanent reduction of his contractually agreed working time. It is only for operational reasons that an employer has the option to decline this request. In this case, the decline must be communicated in writing one month prior to the originally requested beginning of the working time reduction.

To certain groups of employees – such as young parents – additional entitlements to temporary working time reduction are granted.

Protection against discrimination

By law, part-time employees must not be put at a disadvantage with comparable full-time employees. This also implies that they get equal access to social benefits as well as to paid sick and vacation days proportionately to their working time.

Moreover, if a part-time employee applies for an open position with longer working hours within the company, his application takes precedence over internal and external applications – if he is equally suited for this position.

For more information please consult our paper on modern part-time employment (in German only).


Julius Jacoby

Arbeitsrecht, Wirtschaftsrecht, Internationales Recht

Julius Jacoby