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By: Dr. Eric Uftring, Esq.
WINHELLER Attorneys at Law & Tax Advisors
Frankfurt, Germany

Employees are in principle obligated to work at the agreed times. But what is the legal situation when working parents watch their children at home because staff at the day care center goes on strike?

First important detail: If an employee does not arrive at work or comes too late, his first obligation is to notify his employer in due time. Otherwise, he is at least at risk of receiving a written warning. An entitlement to continued remuneration only exists under very strict conditions. The law requires that the employee is prevented from working at short notice without any fault on his part due to an unforeseen event. Fault exists, however, if the employee can be accused of having been able to find an alternative.

If it comes to a dispute between employer and employee, it must therefore be assessed: Did the unions announce the strike on short notice? What are the actual possibilities of obtaining alternative care? Only if the strike was not announced and alternative care cannot be found, parents can claim a continued remuneration.

Please Note: This legal situation is anything but clear. It can be explicitly disputed in the individual case. Therefore, it may be appropriate to find an amicable solution. It can be considered, for example, whether employers possibly support their employees to organize emergency care, perhaps even at the company itself. Apart from that, employers and employees could find a solution by means of granting vacation or by means of a reduction of outstanding overtime hours. In companies with works councils, such problems can also be solved with the help of a company agreement.

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