A new EU directive stipulates that employment contracts must contain more information in order to make working conditions more transparent and predictable. What employment contracts will have to look like in the future, what advantages the expanded Evidence Act has for employees and what applies to existing employment contracts.

For all employment contracts that were concluded after August 1st, the new extended proof law automatically applies. The previously existing proof law already contained some essential contractual conditions, which have now been expanded. For example, the duration of the probationary period and the agreed working hours must be explained in detail in writing.

Tobias Klingelhöfer is a lawyer and has been working as a legal expert for ARAG for many years. As a guest columnist for FOCUS Online, he informs consumers about their rights and obligations in different life situations.

The composition of the wages must also be disclosed precisely, for example when it comes to special payments or overtime. Another innovation is the obligation to inform the employee comprehensively about the procedure to be followed in the event of a dismissal – at least about the written form requirement and the deadline for an action for protection against dismissal.

Furthermore, all required information must now be presented to the employee in writing on the first day of work. If this is not done or not done correctly, a fine can be imposed.

The new Evidence Act applies to all employment contracts. Whether for trainees, mini-jobbers or cleaning staff in the private sector – anyone who is not employed short-term for a maximum of one month and has concluded an employment contract is now entitled to this extended information in the contract. The extensions can either be included in a comprehensive employment contract or recorded in a separate verification document.

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New contracts do not necessarily have to be issued for existing employment relationships. Workers hired before August 1 need not be notified of essential working conditions in writing unless they request their employer to do so. Even then, no change to the contract is necessary, because a written, signed list of the working conditions is sufficient to fulfill the obligation to provide evidence. However, I advise all employees to reconcile their existing contracts, because they can now contain invalid clauses, for example on rest breaks or compensation for overtime.