Leave to take care of a sick child - Germany

For a contractor under SOFA


Hunt2871
My daughter was born in the United States on February 15, 2010 and was diagnosed with a cleft palate. Due to her condition I was unable to return to work as soon as I anticipated and have some questions about my rights under German labor laws.

I am a U.S. Citizen working for a German contractor. My Wife is a U.S. Citizen working for The United States Department of Defense so I am working in Germany under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). My question is if I am entitled to any leave outside of vacation time to take care of an ill child? My employer has been more than accomadating but I have taken at least two weeks more leave time than I had vacation time coming and I want to know what to expect. I also know that with a new born child there will be times when I will need to take time off to care for her when she is sick or has doctor appointments and not having any leave time makes this difficult. Does anyone have any information or advice where I can find this information, in English preferably?

Thanks in advance.
Texmandie
When you say "German contractor," do you mean a company actually based in Germany that works on US military contracts, or a US-based company that works on US military contracts here in Germany?

I can't say for sure on the former, but I know for the latter that German labor law does not apply to us (I work for a US firm that has several hundred employees working on various US military contracts in Germany and other NATO countries). I, like most contractor employees over here, can be told to work crazy hours at straight pay and have nothing whatsoever to do with the German social system. German labor law, along with the tax situation, is why US military contractors will often only take TESA-eligible candidates for their TESA-approved positions.

Presuming that your employer is actualy an American firm with operations here, they are only required to comply with the US Family Medical Leave Act if there are a certain number of employees within a certain radius (50 and 75 are what stick out in my mind - either 50 employees within 75 miles, or 75 employees within 50 miles). It might be stricter for firms with government contracts. FMLA gives you 12 weeks per year, but part or all can be unpaid at the discretion of your employer. You do not have to take all the leave at once. You probably would have to notify your employer in advance that you needed to take off, say, a half-day without pay for a doctor's appointment. Offer to your boss/HR department to have a doctor write a letter about your daughter's condition and the likelihood of your needing time off to care for her without notice.

Fun fact: you have a somewhat better than average chance of getting late afternoon/early evening appointments with local doctors as you are, most likely, a relatively well-paying privately-insured patient. Additionally, you really SHOULD bring up the fact with the doctor's office that you have run through your sick leave. Whether this is fair or not is another subject, but keep it in mind. You won't get offered those appointments if you don't ask!
joesjungle
Pretty easy here, you have no rights under the German laws. You are SOFA therefore your employment is based on Virginia's labor laws since most contracting companies HQ there.
dbert4
As you know, companies which do work on a contract basis with the DoD are some of the greediest enmities on Earth. Your labor represents billable time for them, if you aren't at work, they can't bill.

The government reimburses them for minimum amounts of your leave or sick time, otherwise it's money from their pocket.

If you’re one of those Republican/Anti-Obama types, welcome to the hell that you supported. If not, good luck!
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