Although I'm meanwhile not completely up to date anymore with respect to german labor law, maybe first a fact and than a little story from the pricvate sector in France for you:
The fact is, that in case you want to lay someone off for poor performance in France, you give him a warning in the OBLIGATORY annual personal performance assessment and you'll repeat the exercise three months down the road. In case his performance
has not improved you can lay him off for professional reasons. He'll take one month of salary, his remaining holidays and in case of seniority (for every 12 months in the company) another month of salary (however, there is a cap,
which I fail to remember).
Not really too hard is it?
And you can believe me, since I HAD to lay off people like this.
And now the little story:
My wife is in the mid management of a small subsidary of a bigger US-based company. Since the downturn of the US-economy, the writing was on the wall that the company will have to reduce it's workforce.
Consequently, the french management advised the US-bigwicks to do the annual performance evaluation and tag the dead wood in the company with a warning, so that in case of lay-offs at a later stage, the procedings have already been started according to french labor law.
The american headquarter, however - at the time very busy with merger talks - could not be bothered with such small folkloristic labor law details overseas and prefered not to listen. Even worse - two weeks before Xmas they perform a "cut and paste style" evaluation which assignes even to the underperformers an "acceptable" performance.
Then the happy new year 2008 arrives and the US-board decides, well, this year we lay off some folk.
And, since merger talk should not be clouded by bad economic rumors, we call a lay-off for economical reasons (which has in France completely different proceedings) not by it's proper name, but we say we simply get rid of some dead wood and tell the underperformersto take a hike, because - well - they underperform.
Subsequently, they send a firing squad for immediate execution to France, which - despite a renewed warning of the french management that this will violate french labor law and thus will provide any half-way decent lawyer a huge opening to rake in huge compansations - summons the delinquents and let's them know that they mustn't drop in tomorrow morning, because it came to the managements attention that their performance sucks.
Naturally, the inevitable happens: These people print out their "acceptable" december evaluation, get a good lawyer who rips the proceedings legally apart and get a full featured six months of salary as a golden handshake out of all this.
IMHO - rightly so.
Since then the US-based human resource department runs around in the headquarter telling anyone who will listen that it's:
1) Nearly impossible to lay-off staff in France. That's a bloody commy cell over there.
2) Last thing we'll ever do is hire someone againin France.
I guess, they sound in their rants a lot like you Oliver.
And the french management came to simply two conclusions:
1) That this was the most botched up firing exercise they have ever had to witness. The diletantic way
in which it was MANAGED basically tripled the costs.
2) Apparently the wrong people were fired. Shoving the HR bums and one or the other bummer from the board over the
cliff would have lead to substancially larger savings...
And - since in your rant you're also giving the indian continent a kick - yet another thing:
My sister in law was meanwhile forced to change her job because the contractor of her Madras based company
expects the Indian IT staff to work nine months per year in Omaha.
Highly motivated and for an Indian salary, naturally.