With a great willingness to strike, the public sector in Germany has achieved a strong collective bargaining result with significant increases in income. However, civil servants are not covered by the application of the collective agreement.
In Germany, the professional civil service is established. Civil servants are not allowed to go on strike, but must be financially supported by their employers, the so-called employers. This includes providing them with sufficient funds and being able to dispose of them in retirement. It can be seen that the tradition of the professional civil service can be based on a very long time ago, when the civil servant relieved the monarch in particular of tasks and carried them out faithfully. In today's democracies, civil servants perform important tasks in state administration, but also in important functions such as the police.
In 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the salary of judges in the state of Berlin in the years 2009 to 2015 would be unconstitutional. (Symbolic image) © Jens-Ulrich Koch/Imago
By the way: If you want to switch to the public sector, you should take a particularly good look around at certain locations.
The civil servant's income is derived from the Constitution
How the civil servants are to be remunerated was once left to the regent (monarch, king). It is no coincidence that the image of a princely remuneration as very good pay emerged in parlance. Civil servants are certainly a long way from this in many activities.
But the civil servant's entitlement to his remuneration is still concretely derived from the constitution today. He must be provided with a livelihood commensurate with his rank and responsibilities associated with his office, as well as in line with the development of the general standard of living.
How can the official receive more money?
If a civil servant is not satisfied with his salary, he can sue for higher payments on the basis of the constitution. At the end of 2021, for example, the Hessian Constitutional Court ruled that civil servants' salaries in Hesse in the years 2013 to 2020 were too low and therefore unconstitutional. The same conclusion was reached by the Federal Constitutional Court in 2020, which considered the salaries of judges in the state of Berlin in the years 2009 to 2015 to be unconstitutionally too low. The courts pay particular attention to the existence of the so-called minimum distance requirement. To this end, the Federal Constitutional Court once ruled that the activities of civil servants at the simplest level must be paid at least 15 percent better than the services provided by the state to its citizens for the so-called basic security.
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However, this minimum distance requirement can lead to a chain reaction. This is because the gaps must continue in the salaries under civil service law that are paid for higher activities. Thus, if the lowest level is already too low, an increase in the lowest level continues over the entire structure to the highest level. However, once the classification of civil servants' salaries has been coherently written, then the further increases by employers in many places are based on the collective bargaining agreements for the public sector. However, this must then be implemented by way of a law.