1. Physical protection
There are numerous regulations that prevent the employer from excessively exploiting the employee’s body. The stipulations deal with iron capped shoes for construction workers to regulations of breaks for truckers, from the space a person is entitled to in an office (minimum 1 meter moving space behind his desk) to the existence of exactly what emergency aid kit has to be available for which numbers of square meter office space.
2. Economical protection
The most important regulation to protect the employee of entrepreneurial mishap is the regulation covering dismissal. Depending on diverse factors it can be very difficult to release an employee. The entrepreneur’s responsibility for its employees is a high value and many elder company owners have employed their staff for the whole working life and are proud to have supported them and their families. A lot of effort is put into regulations that keep people within the social security system, the Minijob law and the regulations against fake entrepreneurship are examples.
3. Psychological protection
Not as harsh as in the US but also existing are regulations against sexual harassment and mobbing. Currently, the German government is discussing a regulation as to the availability via smartphones during out-of-office hours.
4. Family protection
The concept of a traditional family is also held high and much is done to encourage man and wife to get children. Numerous financial allowances are granted as well as extended protection against dismissal. Since a couple of years, fathers are also encouraged by financial incentives to spend at least 2 months at home.
5. Gender equality
Since the 70ies of last century, the equality of women is also a very important objective. The right approach to achieve 100% equality is however always discussed controversially. In March 2015 a law became effective that requires 30% female members of the directors’ board. The law has only a very limited impact as very few women in absolute numbers will be concerned. However, it is expected that the general perception of women in management positions is improved.
6. Protection against discrimination
The second world war has been a trauma for Germany, and it is probably the most important driving factor for antidiscrimination rules. And it is not only legalities; it is upheld in any socializing or business event. It is the origin of Germany’s strong belief in equality of races and sexual orientation. Still, it is not a matter of course, and in many businesses, you may see unethical double morale.
7. Social redistribution of wealth
The German social system is known in the world as one of the very best. However, the heritage of workers unions is starting to crack under the constant pressure of liberal developments. The German system is not as just as you may believe. The public healthcare system, as well as the unemployment fund, are financed by contributions of the employed workforce only. Entrepreneurs finance their own private healthcare system. However, the original principle is still valued as the justest concept, and the major political parties like CDU, SPD, FDP or Grüne do not have largely diverging opinions on it.
8. Generation Y & demographic aging
The chances and challenges elder generations face when dealing with young professionals are huge and difficult to manage. Neither members of each generation really understand the other. Technologies separate them. The baby boomers are now entering the retirement age, and 2-3 professionals need to contribute to the social system to provide for 1 pensioner. A conflict-prone situation.
9. Reunion of West & East Germany
Until quite recently, employees from the eastern German states were eyed at with prejudice. Today, Germany seems to have overcome the psychological Berlin wall. The eastern states are unfortunately still lacking in wealth, and business growth and the trend is not positive. Even the bigger cities like Leipzig or Dresden will probably suffer a decline in population.
10. World Champion in exporting goods (and soccer)
In many years in the past Germany has achieved a significant positive saldo in exports over imports. German products are highly regarded. German scientists have invented up to now most important technologies. The best technicians of the world have been educated in Germany – that is a common presumption. There is some undeniable pride existing in German manufacturing sites. The same pride leads to a significant mistrust in foreign quality of goods and education.