Right to direct

An employee is free to perform any other work in his/her free time as long as it doesn't adversely affect his/her performance in the principal job.

When an employer exercises the right to direct, the following principles must be observed:

  • the right to direct only applies to working hours,
  • the employer may not order employees to do anything that is illegal or contrary to good conduct,
  • the physical and professional capacity of the employee to perform the tasks assigned must be taken into account,
  • any changes significantly affecting the employee’s status must be undertaken through negotiations under the codetermination procedure, and
  • the employee’s privacy must not be violated.

Employees are required to do their work diligently and to follow the employer’s instructions. The employer is entitled to supervise employees during working hours. Supervision may be undertaken in a number of ways. In practice, an employee may work quite independently and supervision may consist of simply examining the results of the work.

Changes in terms and conditions of employment must be agreed upon

There may be provisions in an employee’s employment contract that limit the right to direct. If an employee’s working hours, job duties and workplace are not entered in the employment contract, the employer must give the employee a written statement of them. This must be given not later than the end of the first pay period. Generally, an employer may not unilaterally change any terms and conditions of employment agreed upon with the employee or described in the written statement referred to above; changes must be negotiated.

A secondary occupation is paid employment undertaken in the service of an employer other than the employee's principal employer. An employer may deem an employee’s secondary occupation unacceptable if it causes harm such as a decline in work performance.

An employee may not perform work or engage in activities in the service of another employer that would be harmful to the employee’s principal employer. Secondary occupations must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In certain fields, secondary occupations must always be declared to the employer and may even require permission from the principal employer.