Employment/Compensation & Benefits

Balancing interests,
safeguarding decisions.

You would like to make life easier for your HR department by obtaining prompt legal advice as and when needed? Or perhaps you would like to restructure certain aspects of your remuneration policy, or other terms and conditions of employment in your company? We provide advice and guidance in all areas of individual employment law and collective labour law. Our specialised lawyers and experts will support you through the entire process – from an analysis of your legally and realistically possible options through to structuring and strategic planning, and ending with successful implementation. We are also your first port of call when it comes to questions regarding existing payroll structures or for designing new payroll systems, including those which involve wage regulation.

We offer competent advice tailored to your needs, provided by a team which is assembled flexibly to address your specific requirements. Here at GSK Stockmann, colleagues from Corporate, Tax, Finance, Financial Regulation, Restructuring & Insolvency, Compliance and Data Protection work hand in hand so that you can benefit from our extensive and broad spectrum of expertise. We look at your concerns not only from a legal viewpoint, but also from a business perspective. This enables us to offer valuable, excellent legal advice based on a solid understanding of you and your company – and, working together, to develop the best possible strategy and solution.

Employment law

We draft or update your HR-related document templates so that your work consistently builds on the very best legal foundation. If you are engaged in national or international projects, transactions or restructuring, we will come alongside you with our expert advice and help you achieve your business goals. For example, we negotiate with executive boards, CEOs, employees, works councils and staff committees,

and represent your interests effectively during arbitration procedures or in court. We also offer in-house workshops and presentations for your employees to promote awareness and competency for topics which are relevant to your company. We have particular expertise in the following areas:

Employment conditions are changing on all levels – global, economic and individual. This in turn has led to a change in the demands on employment relationships and on the contracts which form the basis for such relationships.

We will help you draw up future-proof agreements, and assist you with designing or demarcating various business activities in a manner which is legally watertight – from conventional employment relationships through to temporary work or freelance contracts, and contracts for services or work. We help our clients develop and implement new, up-to-date remuneration systems and clearly structured bonus policies and target agreements which will motivate employees. If you are looking to restructure or add flexibility to your policies on working hours, place of work or other work-related matters, we have the expertise and experience you are looking for.

Depending on your needs and requirements, we will conduct in-depth legal analyses of complex issues and help you make good decisions by recommending various courses of action. We also compile expert reports containing a range of options, or provide pinpointed advice as and when needed by phone or email.

Our experience in the field of drawing up and negotiating contracts is beneficial not only to companies as a whole, but also to executive boards and CEOs. We help our clients to substantiate, structure and terminate employment and management service contracts, and provide guidance on salaries, termination arrangements and competition law aspects. We also offer advice on social insurance law and manager liability.

Conducting thorough preliminary checks plays an important role in the success of a transaction. Working together with our colleagues from the respective departments, we conduct due diligence checks (related to labour law) in order to identify potential pitfalls. We eliminate such obstacles beforehand, draft contracts which are ideally suited to the respective needs and deploy the right strategy for negotiation to ensure your transactions are successful in both the short and long term. In order to safeguard long-term success, we also offer support in harmonising work conditions such as pay levels, business contracts and individual employment contracts following a merger or acquisition (Post Merger Integration).

Smart and successful restructuring or reorganising can be a turning point in the history of a company. Thanks to many years of experience in supporting such processes with our employment and labour law expertise, we can help you develop and implement made-to-measure solutions for your company. With vision and foresight, we guide you through your transformation process and offer advice on company transfers, outsourcing or changes to your workforce structure. Should it become necessary, we have the sensitivity and delicacy required for dealing with cutbacks, closures, relocation processes and the establishment of job placement companies.

In the event of disputes with works councils or staff committees – particularly those that arise during the course of restructuring processes – we support our clients by providing legal and strategic advice which is pertinent to the situation at hand. If you are negotiating a reconciliation of interests, a social plan or a collective bargaining agreement, we can deploy our expertise and profound understanding of the sector to represent your interests and help you reach a viable and acceptable agreement.

Compliance – ensuring lawful behaviour – entails various aspects of employment law. On the one hand, companies need to comply with specific legal regulations on areas such as working hours, temporary hire or occupational health and safety standards. On the other hand, companies need solid legal methods and a solid legal basis in order to implement and monitor compliance regulations, detect violations and impose the necessary sanctions. Together with our colleagues from the respective departments, we help our clients to implement codes of conduct, ethical codes, policies or directives in various fields including data protection, IP, corruption or anti-money laundering. We offer guidance to companies looking to introduce compliance structures, control mechanisms and whistleblowing systems, and can advise you on questions concerning liability or the legal basis for enforcing existing regulations.

Digital development opens the door to a world of new possibilities for companies – but if you want to avoid compliance and liability risks, you will need to take legal requirements for data protection into consideration. We help our clients to process employee data, introduce new technology, liaise with staff representatives and create viable structures which will stand the test of time and comply with the German Federal Data Protection Act and the EU’s GDPR. In particular, our advisory services include reviewing and creating HR processes to ensure they comply with data protection regulations, drawing up guidelines and regulations for the use of company IT infrastructures, and regulating the technology which enables companies to monitor and control employees.

Many (potential) conflicts can be avoided or resolved by taking suitable measures in advance. Good preparatory measures and extra-judicial action lay the best possible groundwork for fending off a potential dispute. In the event of court proceedings relating to employment disputes, we will represent your interests, work hand in hand with you to develop an appropriate strategy, and help you find an economically sensible solution.

Compensation & Benefits

Following the financial crisis and the regulations that followed in its wake, the German government has cracked down and taken considerable steps to regulate the salaries of employees in the finance industry. One of the triggers that sparked the global financial crisis of 2008/2009 was deemed to be remuneration policies which focus on short-term profits and reward successes without paying sufficient attention to – or penalising – failure. As such, European (and German) legislation has taken a close look at compensation and benefits for employees and CEOs who work in the financial services sector. Remuneration for virtually every action on the finance market is now regulated by parliament and by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), who in turn are implementing the corresponding EU

guidelines and regulations. Today, the legal framework for compensation & benefit systems used by banks and companies in the financial services sector is shaped largely by the Remuneration Ordinance for Institutions, AIFM guidelines and MiFID II/MaComp guidelines, some of which have been adopted in national legislation. More and more national and international regulations are being enforced to regulate this area. Thus, it is vital that companies retain a good overview of the regulations they need to take into account. We have particular expertise in the following areas:

We advise companies that are active in the banking and financial services sector on all questions arising from the Remuneration Ordinance for Institutions. When we analyse your remuneration policy, we check for compliance not only with the above policy, but also with all aspects of employment law. This enables us to develop tailored solutions, no matter how complex the problem. Our special focus in this field lies in developing and implementing remuneration systems, advising consolidated group companies on the group-wide applicability of remuneration regulations, and acting as your representative when dealing with the BaFin.

Asset management companies are largely regulated by AIFM guidelines and the provisions of the German Investment Code. Legislation requires nothing less of asset management companies than to deploy a commensurate and fully consistent remuneration system. In particular, variable benefits are subject to numerous regulations, some of which are extremely strict. Asset management companies must declare their remuneration policy in their initial application for approval. We have considerable experience in advising asset management companies with regard to remuneration policy legislation. This applies particularly to representing companies when coordinating remuneration systems with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

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* Partner: A partner within the meaning of the partnership company law.
   Local Partner: not a partner within the meaning of the partnership company law.
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