Employment and social security law

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?

From traditional employment law issues such as hiring and complex restructuring, to transformations such as New Work: how should you structure your legal and HR processes to ensure compliance?

Do you know what your options are for structuring company pension schemes – from creating new structures and restructuring to outsourcing and improving your balance sheet?

How do you successfully integrate employees after a deal or a carve-out?

How do you effectively support co-determination rights of works councils in a digital working environment and in fast-growing companies?

How do you go about applying the correct employment and social security legislation for employees who are working from home/remotely? How do you ensure compliance when employing agency staff?

Heads of legal departments, personnel managers and HR officers need an experienced partner that they can trust – both with complex transformation and restructuring processes, and individual employment and social security law issues. Our lawyers at PwC Legal offer strategic, cross-border and interdisciplinary legal advice over the entire employee life cycle. Our answers to your questions always consider the larger HR context, built on a solid foundation of comprehensive project management expertise.

As well as supporting our clients in setting up or reviewing the data room for deals, we’re also on hand to help throughout the planning and implementation process in HR-related carve-outs, and up to the end of the integration phase after mergers. In addition to traditional employment and social security law risks, we identify HR risks and develop strategies to ensure that your target organisation is operational on day one.

To increase efficiency and automate processes, we use our own legal tech solutions, which we are constantly adapting to the needs of our clients. For example – have you heard about our Whistleblower and Ethics Reporting Channel managed service for dealing with reports of legal infringements? Whistleblower and Ethics Reporting Channel – PwC Store
Or have you tried our Quick Check Freelancer app to assess the risk of bogus self-employment when employing third-party staff? Quick Check Freelancer app – PwC Store

Our lawyers don’t just help to reconcile interests and negotiate social plans – we also offer HR Analyst, a reliable cloud-based personnel planning tool for the various phases of your transformation. HR Analyst: an HR tool for personnel cost planning. We will also consult with you on how changes can best be communicated, how to get employee representatives involved, and how to build bridges with all parties so that your company can achieve its operational goals in a way which is acceptable for everyone involved.

Our lawyers from the Social Security Law Team also provide first-rate advice on concerns relating to national and international social security law. This includes supporting you in all matters relating to the distinction between employees and freelancers, submitting benefit claims to the competent authorities or courts for you, and conducting lawsuits, appeals, and proceedings to determine social security status. Our highly qualified pension advisors from PwC GmbH WPG are also on hand to provide specialist assistance to our Social Security Law Team on issues such as supervising tax audits under social security law, disclosures to social security agencies and evaluating external wage tax audit reports.

Our company pension experts offer advice on structuring and introducing pension commitments and pension schemes, whether for individually contracted employees or under collective agreements. Our experts also specialise in outsourcing pension obligations and structuring contractual trust arrangements.

What’s more, our lawyers have proven industry expertise in areas such as public services and energy – expertise which is particularly useful for dealing with trade unions and works councils. In this area, we run a specialised women’s network – women&energy – to deepen our relationships with clients. women&energy – the women’s network in the energy industry – PwC

How PwC Legal can support you

General employment law

Our lawyers will:

  • support you in drafting employment contracts, dismissals, warnings and references;
  • advise you on issues relating to co-determination and on dealing with works councils;
  • design working time and remuneration models;
  • ensure compliance with employment law when introducing flexible and innovative ways of working, such as cross-border work, cross-border matrix structures and working from home (New Ways of Work);
  • conclude company wage agreements for you and negotiate with unions;
  • compose job advertisements and advise you on application procedures, including employee data protection;
  • represent you before all courts nationwide;
  • conduct decision-making proceedings and arbitration board proceedings;
  • advise you on issues around temporary employment and the minimum wage.

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Social security law

Our lawyers:

  • will advise you on employing (external) personnel at home and abroad and conduct proceedings to determine social security status;
  • offer support with designing processes when using independent partners;
  • provide advice on severance pay;
  • will carry out social security checks and draft service contracts for you;
  • can help you assert social security claims out of court;
  • conduct application, appeal, complaint and decision-making proceedings;
  • will represent you in social and financial court proceedings;
  • negotiate with social security agencies;
  • can provide advice on business deals and identify any social security risks in deals;
  • enjoy specialist support in their work from PwC GmbH WPG pension advisors.

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Mergers, takeovers and restructurings

Our lawyers will:

  • develop (transnational) personnel reduction plans and calculate the budgets you need;
  • draw up plans for founding SEs;
  • plan your target organisation from an employment law perspective;
  • assist you with identifying which employees are most entitled to continued employment (Sozialauswahl);
  • advise you in negotiations on reconciliation of interests and redundancy plans, and take on project management if required;
  • manage transfers of undertakings;
  • set up transitional companies and calculate the expected costs for you in advance;
  • represent you before arbitration boards;
  • take on (mass) dismissal protection cases;
  • plan carve-outs;
  • supervise standard insolvency proceedings and self-administration proceedings;
  • develop plans for debtor-in-possession restructuring and for headcount reduction following transfers of undertakings (Erwerberkonzepte).

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Company pension schemes

Our lawyers will:

  • advise you on structuring and introducing pension commitments and pension schemes, both for individually contracted employees and under collective agreements;
  • consult with you on structuring pension commitments for board members, managing directors and executives;
  • assist you with legally compliant implementation of changes to benefits, alterations to existing pension funds, and reorganisation and restructuring of the way your company pension scheme is run (including outsourcing pension obligations);
  • support you in all legal matters relating to company pension schemes during company transactions (pre- and post-merger) and carve-outs;
  • help you to ensure compliance when carrying out legally mandated pension benefit assessments and adjustments (Anpassungsprüfungen);
  • support you in setting up additional protections against insolvency – e.g. developing contractual trust arrangements, pledges or guarantee models, including assessing equivalence of successor solutions;
  • provide advice on public collective agreements and the relevant supplementary pension funds/the VBL; in particular, for restructuring and negotiations with those funds/the VBL regarding special membership/participation agreements;
  • help you to introduce working time accounts and partial retirement;
  • provide you with comprehensive advice through the PwC network by ensuring interdisciplinary coordination, involving relevant tax, business, accounting and actuarial specialists from PwC GmbH WPG.

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Our lawyers and consultants will:

  • guide you past key HR milestones during carve-outs;
  • oversee due diligence from a legal and HR perspective (buy side and sell side);
  • assist with setting up your data room;
  • supervise sales and purchase agreement (SPA) negotiations between signing and closing;
  • plan integration after closing;
  • support you in the post-merger phase;
  • assist you with employee transfers;
  • draft employee retention plans;
  • develop communication plans for key stakeholders;
  • identify leadership competencies and key roles;
  • calculate severance costs.

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Transformation and deals

Our advisors will:

  • manage transformation projects across borders;
  • identify employees and oversee the employee transfer process;
  • create HR transfer lists and customise org charts and processes to ensure successful transformation on day one;
  • provide support in preparing for and conducting negotiations with employee representatives;
  • draft employment and service contracts as well as service level agreements;
  • conduct feasibility studies and plan your budget for personnel changes;
  • carry out efficiency and synergy analyses;
  • develop a communications strategy;
  • offer all of the above as managed services.

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Our legal tech solutions

We can support you with digital technological solutions:

  • HR Analyst – reliably plan your personnel costs and staff reductions during transformations and restructurings
  • Quick Check Freelancer app – a fast and reliable way to identify risks of bogus self-employment
  • HR Litigation Dashboard – a real-time overview of your cases before the labour court, including deadline management and costs

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Digital platform services

Our lawyers and advisors:

  • help exponentially growing companies to safeguard extensive co-determination rights and ensure protection of employee data;
  • can take on work packages from your HR and legal departments;
  • understand agile business models which involve both a global IT infrastructure and country-specific configurations and processes;
  • can present work results as visualisations, encapsulate them in executive summaries to guide C-level decisions, and deliver this to you in real time via an encrypted online dashboard – 24/7/365;
  • can assist you with introducing systems such as cloud-based software and apps (including HR information, payroll, and time and attendance systems) where works councils have a right of co-determination from the pilot stage;
  • will help your HR, legal and IT executives develop a structured and prioritised approach to successfully negotiate co-determination rights as we move from an analogue past to a digital future;
  • always work preventively to avoid conflicts between stakeholders;
  • will defend your interests before labour courts and arbitration boards, where necessary;
  • will monitor EU legal developments on improving working conditions for people who work via digital work platforms;
  • offer all of the above as managed services.

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Dr. Nicole Elert

Employment law

Tel: +49 1511 2228930