Employment Protection Act
The definition of collective dismissals is provided in the Employment Protection Act in the article stipulating that the employer has to announce the dismissal to the public authorities (federal employment agency).
To fall within the scope of national legislation, an employer (company or establishment) with more than 20 workers (includes trainees in vocational training; excludes contracted home workers and the self-employed) must plan to make redundant more than 5 people within 30 days. Certain employees are not considered as members of staff when calculating the size of the workforce, such as senior executives or managers, heads of businesses and CEOs.
The minimum number of redundancies is 6 in establishments with 21 to 59 employees, 10% of employees (or 26 employees) in companies with 60 to 499 employees, and 30 if there are 500 or more employees. By definition, the act applies to any economically independent or dependent establishment.
The law does not specify eligible reasons for redundancies and operational difficulties are considered as a sufficient condition to justify collective redundancies, provided the works council has been informed and consulted.
It has proven successful in avoiding collective dismissals to have the economic reasons for planned dismissals audited by experts. In turn, the results of this are in many cases the basis for economically grounded suggestions to avoid dismissals.