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8 April 2016
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Schultze & Braun News

Recent publications

Dr Eberhard Braun  (publ.),
Insolvabilité et restructuration en Allemagne – Annuaire 2016, Frankfurt/M. 2015

Joachim Zobel
Transfergesellschaften: Baustein für ein faires Angebot / Sozialverträglicher Personalabbau
Arbeit und Arbeitsrecht 1/16, 22 – 25

Stephan Ries
Zur Aufrechnung rückständiger Steuerforderungen gegen einen antragsabhängigen Steuererstattungsanspruch des Insolvenzschuldners (Anm. zu BFH VII R 29/14), Entscheidungen zum Wirtschaftsrecht (EWiR) 2016, 81 - 82

Dr Christoph von Wilcken
Erstattungsanspruch gegen den Direktor einer in Deutschland tätigen Limited nach § 64 GmbHG
DER BETRIEB, Nr. 04, 29.01.2016

Dr Andreas J. Baumert
Zur „demnächst“ erfolgten Klagezustellung bei PKH-Antrag innerhalb von 14 Tagen nach Zugang der Gerichtskostenanforderung, Anmerkung zu BGH, Urteil vom 03.09.2015 – III ZR 66/14, Entscheidungen zum Wirtschaftsrecht (EWiR) 2016, 31 - 32


Risiko Insolvenzanfechtung
Verband der Vereine Creditreform e.V., Creditreform Akademie, 04103 Leipzig, 21.04.16
Rüdiger Bauch
Karsten Kiesel

Qualifizierungslehrgänge für Aufsichts- und Beiräte
Deutsches Verwaltungs- & Aufsichtsrats-Institut (DVAI), 83684 Tegernsee, 22.04.16
Volker Böhm

Handelsblatt Jahrestagung "Restrukturierung 2016"
Pre-Workshop: Die Liquiditätswirkung des Lieferantenpools
Handelsblatt in Kooperation mit EUROFORUM, 60313 Frankfurt, 27.04. - 29.04.16
Dr Rainer Riggert

Anfechtung erfolgreich vorbeugen - vermeiden - abwehren
FORUM Institut für Management GmbH, 80807 Munich, 27.04.16
Tobias Hirte
Karsten Kiesel

Verkauf & Verwertung in Krise und Insolvenz
AV-Service GmbH, 66117 Saarbrücken, 28.04.16
Tobias Hirte

Newsflash Distressed Transactions

Beware of financial risks regarding company pension schemes: Widow’s pensions survive even if excluded by late marriage clauses

In a recent decision – court file no: 3 AZR 137/13 –, the German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) – Germany’s highest court for employment law cases – invalidated certain forms of the long standing so-called “late marriage clause” (Späteheklausel) regarding survivor’s benefits under company pension schemes. For employers with pension schemes including the relevant clauses, the decision has direct financial and accounting consequences.

Joachim Zobel
Attorney at law (Germany)
Certified Specialist in Labour Law


Joachim Zobel

In the context of pension commitments, employers often promise benefits to the spouse in the event of the employee’s death. A certain form of the so-called “late marriage clauses” limits such entitlements to marriages entered into before the employee has reached a certain age and thereby limits the number of potential pension beneficiaries.

In the case decided by the German Federal Labour Court, the employer had committed to paying out a widow’s pension if the marriage wad entered into before the employee reached the age of 60. In practice, late marriage clauses exist in various forms and essentially serve to limit and quantify the financial risks of survivor’s benefits and – in the extreme – to avert payment obligations for so-called “marriages for maintenance” (Versorgungsehen) – marriages entered into only to secure pension benefits for a spouse.

In its decision, the German Federal Labour Court stated that the particular late marriage clause was invalid due to Germany's General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) because the clause directly discriminates on grounds of the age of the employee. The court found no legitimate reasons to exclude the benefits on the basis of the employee’s age regardless of the end of the employment. The court noted that other late marriage clauses, e.g. requiring the marriage to be entered into during the time of employment or before the pension become due, might be assessed differently. Such clauses might remain valid as set out in other decisions of the German Federal Labour Court.

In the future, the present decision has to be considered in particular in due diligence reviews preparing M&A transactions. Whether pension liabilities appear correctly in the balance sheet will depend on whether the new German Federal Labour Court’s ruling has been taken account of. The decision is further generally expected to make it significantly more difficult to calculate pension liabilities based on actuarial reports.

Employers will also have to consult with their legal counsel whether to review and where necessary adjust existing pension schemes and its legal documentation.
The employment law experts in the S&B transaction team are gladly available to assist you.

Daniela Gunreben, Attorney at law (Germany), Certified Specialist in Labour Law
Stefanie Radina, Attorney at law (Germany), Certified Specialist in Labour Law


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