How are rights and obligations linked?

The rights and obligations in labor law - who is allowed to do what?

In order for a contract to come about, you have to two partners express their respective will. Do these coincide - so are to bring them into harmony with each other, it comes to conclusion of a contract.

In this, both sides agree what rights you are entitled to and what obligations you have to fulfill on the other side.

This same procedure can be found not only when concluding sales contracts, but also in the work environment.

After all, contracts are entered into here too - employment contracts. Which Rights and duties employers and employees in this context, clarifies the following guide.

It should be mentioned that the regulations applied in the employment relationship not only based on an individually concluded employment contract, but also from one Collective agreement or a works agreement can emerge. If you have any questions, you should therefore also look at these points. By the way: A written employment contract is generally not required. However, it is more difficult to prove rights and obligations from an oral employment contract.

Specific information on rights and obligations:


Oral employment contract

An oral employment contract is also generally valid. We highlight the legal regulations here.


Fixed-term employment contract

Which legal provisions have to be observed in the case of fixed-term employment contracts? Read more here!


Open-ended employment contract

An open-ended employment contract is also subject to specific regulations. Everything about it, here!


Change of employment contract

Changes to the employment contract usually have to be approved by the contractual partner.


Invalid employment contract

You can find out when a concluded employment contract is void from this guide.


Reservation of revocation

You can read here what exactly is behind the so-called right of withdrawal.

Why are rights and obligations listed in the employment contract

After the conclusion of the contract, the contractual partners do not always agree on what was actually agreed or how a service is to be provided. That is why the treaty exists. He holds on to what both must adhere to and which claims can be sued if necessary. A distinction is made in the employment contract between Main duties and the secondary duties.

If one of the signatories violates his obligations, which were agreed in the employment contract, a so-called occurs Dysfunction. In principle, the statutory provisions from the German Civil Code (BGB), especially paragraphs 275 ff, as well as paragraphs 323 ff. Since employment and sales contracts differ from one another, they are not implemented 1: 1.

The following article first examines the employer's rights and obligations before explaining the whole thing from the perspective of the employee.

The employer's obligations

To Main duty of the employer it belongs first of all to the Employees to pay the agreed remuneration. This can take the form of a salary or wage or additional commissions, etc. In doing so, he must take into account the statutory provisions:

A An amount that is too low is just as illegal as an amount that is much too high. Since 2015, employees in many industries have had the right to the minimum wage.

In some areas, however, transition periods still apply. Regarding the compensation there are other obligations arising from the employment contract, namely these also to be determined in the correct amount and to be handed over or transferred at the agreed time.

And what happens, if the agreed fee ends up in your own account too late and one of the employer's main obligations was thereby violated? After all, employees also have payment obligations that they must meet on time. In this case, the legislature will guarantee you one Right to compensation to. It amounts to according to § 288 BGB to a flat rate of 40 euros. This should motivate the companies to transfer the money quickly, otherwise they will be punished. That doesn't apply to all employees yet, he on June 30, 2016, this regulation will become generally applicable.

In addition, the employer secondary contractual obligations to meet. These include:

  • Employment obligation
  • Duty of equal treatment (protection against discrimination) (Section 3 General Equal Treatment Act (AGG)
  • Obligation to take protective measures so as not to endanger the life and health of employees (§ 618 BGB)
  • Duty of care

The employment obligation describes the obligation to one Really employ workers too - and the in a reasonable manner. The employer may assign the content of his work to the employee, but must take into account what they have agreed on in the employment contract. Be The right to give instructions is therefore not unlimited.

The employer's secondary obligations also include Duty of care. It is recorded in the BGB in paragraphs 617 to 619. An employer has that Take into account the interests of its employees and employees. Of course this has in line with operational interests to be done. In particular, we are talking about:

  • Disclosure / information obligations: Consideration is also one of the secondary obligations that an employer must adhere to. This refers to other legitimate interests that must be met through disclosure and notification obligations (Opportunities for company pension schemes, issuance of an employment reference when the employment relationship is terminated, etc.).
  • Protection and due diligence: z. B. Accident prevention, occupational safety measures, careful handling of things belonging to the employee (he must also protect his employees from bullying).
If the employer does not meet his obligations, the other contracting party can turn to Termination of employment decide. Depending on the circumstances, this can be done properly or without notice.

Further information on rights and obligations:


Place of work

The place of work is the place where the contractual obligations are to be provided.


Limitation periods

Read here what is behind the preclusive periods in the employment contract!


Severability clause

To protect the employer, almost every contract contains a severability clause.


Ineffective clauses in the employment contract

Which clauses in the employment contract can be inadmissible? Find out here!


Contractual penalty

Employees who do not adhere to confidentiality must pay a contractual penalty.


Collective agreement

Rights and obligations can also result from a collective agreement.

The employer's rights

Aside from duties, your boss also has rights - just like you. This includes first of all that of the employee claimable fiduciary duty to the companyhe works for. It faces the employer's duty of care.

He also has what has already been mentioned Right of instruction or direction. It is written down in the trade regulations:

The employer can determine the content, place and time of the work at its own discretion, unless these working conditions are stipulated by the employment contract, provisions of a works agreement, an applicable collective agreement or statutory provisions. This also applies to the order and behavior of employees in the company. When exercising discretion, the employer must also take the employee's disabilities into account. "(106 GewO)

However, he cannot exercise his rights indefinitely. The Limits are reached where immoral or unreasonable instructions be granted. Employees do not have to comply with these instructions.

You have these obligations as an employee

And what rights and obligations arise from the employment contract and other provisions for employees and employees? To one of the Main obligations of the employee belongs to the Provision of the contractually guaranteed work. He has to take into account the agreed working hours as well as the agreed place of work.

The BGB points out that Employees usually have to do this work personally (Section 613 BGB). In return for his efforts, he receives wages. He is released from this obligation under certain conditions. This is the case if, for example, he is unable to work due to illness or if the provisions of the Maternity Protection Act apply. He is also exempt from the obligation to work while on vacation.

To the Secondary obligations of the employee belongs to the Loyalty Duty. He is obliged to to protect the interests of his employer and not to violate them. The fiduciary duty includes the following secondary obligations, which the employee must also comply with:

  • Confidentiality of trade and business secrets (Attention: you must maintain confidentiality about these even after the end of your employment - this is the post-contractual confidentiality obligation.)
  • Mandatory, to refuse pecuniary benefits such as bribes, which are intended to encourage actions that are detrimental to business
  • Non-competition clause (One of the obligations of employees under the employment contract is that they are not allowed to work in competition with the employer - if none permission this is available.

Without the consent of the principal, the clerk may neither operate a trade nor do business in the principal's branch for his own account or for the account of a third party. Consent to operate a commercial business is deemed to have been given if the principal knows that he is operating the business when the assistant is hired and the principal has not expressly agreed to cease operations.

Becomes violate the employee's obligations as agreed in the employment contract, he must expect a warning, in the worst case even an extraordinary termination. If a breach of guilt was culpable - i.e. negligently or deliberately - this can even result in a claim for damages.

What rights do employees have?

First, here is the Pay for their work to call. You will receive this in exchange for making their work available.

The obligations under the employment contract can include that Worked overtime which may already be included in the salary. But not all clauses are formulated in such a way that they are effective.

It is essential that they do not disadvantage the employee in an unjustified manner. Therefore must be stipulated in the employment contract, a lot of overtime has to be expected - Flat rate payments are not permitted (Federal Labor Court Az. 5 AZR 517/09).

In addition, one of their rights is to be granted a minimum amount of vacation leave. The annual leave entitlement is based on the length of the working week. If you work four days a week, you must have at least 16 days off a year. At a Five days a week it is 20 days according to the Federal Holiday Act. There is an entitlement to vacation leave during the probationary period.

The Federal Leave Act states that With each full month of service, in principle the right to one twelfth of the annual vacation is worked out. Odd values ​​are to be rounded up (§ 5 BurlG).

Furthermore, he has a Right to breakswho interrupt working hours. They serve the Overwork prevention. If intensive and concentrated phases are not interrupted by stops, the the risk of injury. The Working Hours Act prevents this danger by doing the legal minimum for breaks defines: who If you work six to nine hours a day, you must interrupt your work for at least 30 minutes. In the case of longer working hours, the interruption time is 45 minutes a day. Rest breaks may be staggered. A block must not be less than 15 minutes.


The labor law is very complex. Employees and employers learn what rights and obligations they have, including from the legal regulations.

Furthermore, they negotiate the specific form of their legal relationship beyond the minimum also in Collective agreements for entire industries or individually in Employment contracts.

For the latter applies: If legal provisions, regulations, collective agreements or works agreements do not speak any other language, you can find out about Rights and obligations can be freely agreed in the employment contract.

To the relevant rights and obligations of the employer belong to the Obligation to pay, the duty of employment and care, as well as that Right of instruction or direction. For the Workers the following rights arise from legal provisions and the employment contract: inter alia. Minimum amount of paid annual vacation, interruption of working hours for recreation and the right to a benevolent job reference.

To his Main duty does it belong to make his work available, among other things, this emerges from the individual contract negotiations. His secondary duties are often only touched upon in the employment contract: Employees are Committed to loyalty to the company. You must keep confidentiality about trade secrets, sometimes even after the employment contract has already been terminated and the employment relationship has ended.

Compact knowledge: rights and obligations

What rights and obligations does the employee have?

His main duty is to perform the duties specified in the employment contract and the job description contained therein. He has to follow the instructions of the employer, z. B. in relation to working time, place and content of the tasks. in return he is entitled to a salary.

What rights and obligations does the employer have?

The employer must remunerate his employees for the performance and pay them wages. Based on his right to issue instructions, he can define and determine the activities of the employees more precisely. You can find out more about his duties here.

Where are the rights and obligations of employees and employers regulated?

The most important basis for this is the employment contract, which makes the employment relationship very individual. Furthermore, employers and employees must comply with various legal regulations, e.g. B. for occupational health and safety or maternity leave.

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The rights and obligations in labor law - who is allowed to do what?
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