Civil service law in Germany regulates the special legal relationship of civil servants. Civil service law belongs to public law and is part of special administrative law. Civil service law includes all regulations that govern the legal status of civil servants. This includes not only the general civil service laws, career ordinances or the law on remuneration and pensions. Supplementary regulations, such as provisions on leave, travel expenses or allowances, are also part of civil service law.
The civil service relationship (in particular establishment, termination, rights and duties) is unilaterally structured by the legislature in a sovereign manner, whereby the appointment is an administrative act requiring participation. In this way, civil service law differs decisively from labour law, where an individual employment contract is negotiated by the employer and the employee, or a collective employment contract (collective agreement, works agreement) is negotiated by the parties to the collective agreement.
A distinction is made – depending on the employer – between federal civil servants, Land civil servants and municipal civil servants. Civil servants can also be appointed for life, on probation, for revocation or for a fixed term. Further differentiations are made, for example, according to career groups (intermediate civil service, higher civil service, higher civil service).
The legal basis also differs between the Länder. At the federal level, the Federal Civil Servants Act (Bundesbeamtengesetz, BBG), the Federal Salaries Act (Bundesbesoldungsgesetz, BBesG) and the Civil Servants Pensions Act (Beamtenversorgungsgesetz, BeamtVG) apply, while the Länder have enacted their own respective Land civil servants, Land salaries and Land pensions laws. The Civil Servant Status Act (BeamtStG) is also important, as it contains uniform federal regulations on status and status obligations which must be observed by the Länder. In addition, there are other laws and ordinances issued by the Federation and the Länder, such as the Working Hours Ordinance, the Recreational Leave Ordinance, the Maternity Protection and Parental Leave Ordinance, the Secondary Employment Ordinance, the Career Ordinance and the Federal Disciplinary Act. Special regulations exist for certain groups of civil servants.
The core issue is the “traditional principles of professional civil service” applicable to civil servants under Article 33(5) of the Basic Law (GG). These include, among other things, the civil servant’s duty of loyalty, which is countered by a duty of care on the part of his or her employer. The concepts of the civil servant’s duty of service and loyalty and the employer’s duty of care, as well as the structuring of the civil service relationship as a mutual fiduciary relationship, are of particular importance in civil service law.
The most important duty of care is the duty to pay adequate remuneration, which already follows from Article 33 (5) of the Basic Law. This includes the salary appropriate to the office (cf. Federal Salary Act), a retirement pension (cf. Civil Servants’ Pensions Act), the right to leave (cf. the holiday ordinances), to sickness assistance, to allowance (cf. allowance ordinances), to accident care, to reimbursement of travel and removal expenses. Under service law, the civil servant has the right to inspect the personnel file, to a reference and the right to file an application and a complaint.
The public-law employment relationship of civil servants is thus subject to regulations that differ significantly from labour law. Lawyer Tobias Bastian advises civil servants on their rights and obligations.
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