Employment contract for members in Germany

All members of our cooperative are permanent employees, so everyone has an employment contract. Since we collectively own the company, we are employers and employees at the same time. How cool is that!?

There are many things in employment contracts that have become established in practice and are no longer questioned; not so with us! We turned over every word to write a contract that is perfectly tailored to our situation. The only things that are individually adjusted per person are salary, the number of hours per week, vacation and role description.

Posted on Mar 16, 2023; updated on Feb 13, 2024

Please note: This Employment Contract is drafted in a German and an English language version. The German version is exclusively binding. The English version is for information purposes only and has no legal force whatsoever.

Beginning of Employment and Probationary Period

  1. The employment relationship shall begin on [DATE] and shall be for an indefinite period.
  2. The first six months of employment shall be a probationary period. Within the probationary period, the Employment Contract may be terminated with a notice period of four weeks. The right to terminate without notice remains unaffected.

Job Description and Place of Work

  1. You will be employed as a [ROLE]. Your role will include the following in particular:
    1. [A list of your tasks and responsibilities...]
    2. Active participation in shaping the Cooperative, as well as taking on internal tasks and roles.
  2. You are free to choose your place of work within [Berlin / Germany]. We allow so-called mobile working, i.e. working at a location of your choice. If you are traveling and working outside of Germany, you need our permission.

Please contact us in good time beforehand.

Work Hours

  1. Your regular weekly working time [x hours per week, standard: 32], split over [n work days, standard: 4]. Upon prior agreement, the working week can also be split up differently. Work breaks are not part of the working hours.
  2. The Members’ Assembly of the Cooperative shall decide on the introduction of short-time work. If such a resolution is passed, short-time work maybe ordered unilaterally if there is a considerable loss of work due to economic reasons or an unavoidable event and the loss of work has been reported to the labor administration (currently §§ 95 ff. SGB III). A notice period of two calendar weeks is required. In the event of the introduction of short-time work, you agree that the working hours shall be temporarily reduced accordingly and that the remuneration pursuant to section V.1. shall be reduced accordingly for the duration of the reduction in working hours.

Expenses and Training

  1. We will reimburse you for expenses in accordance with the applicable tax regulations.
  2. Training of up to € 1,000 per quarter or € 4,000 per year will be approved upon request. If you receive a monetary benefit from the training, we will deduct the corresponding amount from your salary in accordance with the applicable tax regulations within the framework of the wage tax deduction procedure.

Remuneration and extra hours

  1. You will receive a monthly salary of [gross salary] for your work twelve times a year. We will transfer the salary to you cashless on the 25th of the current month.
  2. As soon as it becomes foreseeable that you will have to work extra hours for internal and/or project work, we expect you to inform your team or the Executive Board promptly. We will then find a solution together to avoid overtime in the future. If you do work longer hours, we will ensure that you comply with the legal requirements and ask you to compensate for the longer working hours promptly in your free time. There is no separate payment for extra hours worked.


  1. If you are unable to work due to illness, please inform us as soon as possible. You are entitled to continued payment of your remuneration in accordance with the statutory provisions.
  2. Please submit a doctor's certificate of incapacity for work (Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung) and the expected duration as soon as possible so that we can plan. If the illness lasts longer than three days, you are obliged to have the incapacity for work confirmed by a doctor on the following day. If it is not possible for the doctor to send the certificate of incapacity for work electronically, you are obliged to submit the certificate of incapacity for work to us on the following day at the latest.

Confidentiality and Transparency

  1. In order to conduct our business in confidence (especially with partners and principals), you are obliged to keep all confidential matters, in particular company and business secrets, of Village One and companies associated with us strictly secret. Technical, commercial and personal processes and circumstances that become known to you in connection with your activities are deemed to be business secrets in case of doubt. In order to disclose such matters, you must in any case obtain instructions from the Executive Board.
  2. This obligation (paragraph 1) shall also apply after termination of the Employment Contract. Insofar as you are unreasonably restricted in your professional development as a result, you can demand that we restrict the duty of confidentiality.
  3. Transparency about the working conditions is important to us and, in our opinion, does not conflict with the duty of confidentiality: In our opinion, company and business secrets do not include, for example, your salary, the content of this contract and generally the cooperation in the company. If you are unsure: Talk to us!

Granting of Rights Of Use

It is in the nature of our project work that we always grant our principals the right to use our work. Sometimes we also transfer all rights to our works. In order to be able to do this, you must also transfer extensive rights for your work to us. This is already provided for in copyright law (e.g. §§43 and 69b UrhG). The following clause amends the provisions of the law as follows:

  1. All rights to work results, in particular copyrights or other intellectual property rights, which you create with us, are hereby transferred to Village One, also in advance, insofar as this does not conflict with statutory provisions. Furthermore, you grant Village One an exclusive right of use, unlimited in terms of space, time and content, transferable to third parties and sub-licencable, for all known and currently unknown types of use.
  2. The transfer shall also include rights acquired before the commencement of activities for us, insofar as the conditions of paragraph 1 apply.
  3. The transfer of rights is also fully compensated by the contractually agreed remuneration for the period after the termination of the employment contract.


  1. You are entitled to a minimum of [x vacation days, standard: 24] per calendar year, which is equivalent to a total of six weeks' paid holiday for a four-day week. We expect you to take this holiday within the calendar year. If this does not happen, the remaining holiday will be carried over into the next year and should be taken in the first three months. The holiday expires 15 months after the end of the holiday year.
  2. Holiday entitlement is proportional to attendance in full months. For example, if your employment relationship begins on 1 September, you would have a total of eight days of leave available for the remaining four months of the calendar year. These do not accrue, but you are entitled to them from the first day of work. In case of termination: Before 30 June you are entitled to one twelfth of the annual leave per full working month and if you terminate your employment in the second half of the year you are entitled to the full number of days.
  3. For periods of parental leave, the holiday entitlement shall be reduced by one-twelfth of the annual leave for each full calendar month of parental leave.

Secondary employment

Remunerated secondary employment or activities that interfere with the employment relationship are only permissible with our consent. This does not mean that they are prohibited, but only that we would like to know about them.

Termination of the Employment Relationship

  1. After the probationary period, the period of notice is three months to the end of a calendar month. The period of notice shall be extended in accordance with section 622(2) of the BGB, in its current version, as follows:
    1. If the employment relationship has existed for ten years, four months to the end of a calendar month,
    2. if the employment relationship has existed for twelve years, five months to the end of a calendar month,
    3. if the employment relationship has lasted 15 years, six months to the end of a calendar month,
    4. if the employment relationship has lasted 20 years, seven months to the end of a calendar month.
    5. The right to terminate without notice for statutory reasons shall remain unaffected. Notice of termination shall be given in writing to the Executive Board
  2. Such statutory or contractual extensions of the notice period apply to both parties, i.e. to terminations by you or us equally.
  3. If we terminate the employment relationship, you may file an action for protection against dismissal (Kündigungsschutzklage) with the labour court within three weeks after receipt of the written notice of termination in accordance with § 4 of the German Dismissal Protection Act (Kündigungsschutzgesetz).
  4. This Employment Contract shall end at the latest and without notice at the end of the month in which you are entitled to a regular retirement pension for the first time.

Preclusion / Periods of Maturity

  1. Both your and our claims arising from and/or in connection with the employment relationship must be asserted in text form against the other party to the contract within a period of three months after the due date, otherwise they will be forfeited. Failure to comply with this preclusion period shall result in the loss of the claim.
  2. If the respective other contracting party rejects the claim in text form or if it does not declare itself in text form within two weeks after the assertion of the claim, the claim shall be forfeited if it is not asserted in court within a further period of three months after the rejection or after the expiry of the deadline. Failure to comply with this preclusion period shall result in the loss of the claim.
  3. The preclusion periods shall not apply to indispensable claims which are excluded by law from regulation by preclusion periods (e.g. AEntG, MiLoG, PflegeArbbV, BetrVG, TVG). The preclusion periods also do not apply to claims based on injury to life, body or health or based on intentional or grossly negligent breaches of duty.
  4. The provisions of the statute of limitations (§§ 194 et seq. of the German Civil Code = BGB) shall not apply accordingly.


  1. You agree to the storage of your personal data, which is necessary for the commencement, execution and termination of the employment relationship in accordance with § 26 BDSG in conjunction with Art. 9 para. 2 lit. b GDPR.
  2. You have received the information on data processing and undertake to maintain data secrecy and telecommunications secrecy.
  3. If your personal details change (e.g. your address), you must inform us of this immediately, insofar as it is relevant to the employment relationship.


  1. German law shall apply.
  2. Should any provision of this Contract be or become invalid in whole or in part, this shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this Contract. The invalid provision shall be replaced by a legally permissible provision that comes as close as possible to the economic intent of the invalid provision. The same shall apply in the event of a contractual loophole.



Stronger together: Come along for the ride!

The Villager’s Dispatch

Subscribe to our newsletter

Virtual office hours

Got a project to discuss or simply want to say hello? Book a video call right away!

See office hours

We’re on Mastodon

Our main social presence is on Mastodon, follow for inspiration and regular updates:

Follow along