international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Germany: Employees are not entitled to a payment of a lump sum for delay in the event of an employer’s delay in payment of remuneration

The plaintiff has been employed by the defendant for several years. He claims delayed payment of bonuses for five months in 2016. In addition, he wanted the employer to pay three lump sums of 40 € each for delayed payment of the bonuses for the three months in 2016 on the basis of a relatively new provision in the German Civil Code.

The defendant argued that this provision of the German Civil Code does not apply to labor law and that the plaintiff therefore has no right to claim the lump sums for delayed payment of bonuses. Furthermore, he is of the opinion that the requirements for the lump sums were not met because he was not in culpable delay.

The lawsuit was successful in the first two instances. However, the defendant’s appeal against the lump sum for delinquent payment was successful.

The highest German labor court ruled that there is no claim for lump sums in case of delayed payment of bonuses because section 12 of the German Labor Court Act as a special labor law regulation excludes the procedural claim for reimbursement of first-instance operating costs and a corresponding substantive claim for reimbursement of costs. This also includes the claim of lump sums for delayed payments of a bonus.