This matter is still unsettled and we are discussing a possible solutions with the German authorities. Please be patient as this matter is now off our hands. We are waiting for the representatives of the German labour authority to get back to us with a solution.
For the moment pilots must pay the U1 (sickness insurance) but are not able to claim sick payments. This situation is due to the "special" nature of the contract of the pilots and the German law.
Basically, pilots are "deemed" employees for the German law, so the employer should pay the sick days for the first 42 days of sickness in the calendar year and then the health insurance should pay any additional days after this. Unfortunately, pilots don't have an employer, technically, because they are self-employed directors of an Irish limited company as per their contract with McGinley. Although company is the "deemed" employer for the German law, pilots are self-employed directors of the company and they own a percentage of the shares of the limited. Thus, they are the employer and the employee at the same time, basically.
- Can I get a refund of my U1 already paid since I can't get any sick day payments? No. The contributions are paid to the German authorites on a regular basis so we don't have your U1 money in the limited bank account. The German authorities expect the U1 payments regardless of the "special" situation of the pilots based in Germany.
- Since I am not getting any sick days payments, can you stop deducting the U1 off my salary? No. The contributions must be paid to the Germany authorities regardless. In theory, the reason why all the pilots must contribute to the U1 is that the Limited company should receive a refund of a certain portion of the sick pay amounts it must pay to the pilot who is unable to work. Although the "special" situation created by the agreement between pilots and McGinley aviation doesn't allow pilots to get sick days payments, the German authorities expect the U1 payment regardless and failure to do so would generate arrears demands letters for outstanding payments, which will be addressed to the Limited (owned by the pilots), and criminal proceedings.
- Can I hire my own lawyer/accountant and try to get a refund of my U1 from the German authorities? Well, we can't stop you if you wish to undertake such a project but we are not going to cooperate with you for the reasons mentioned in the point above. Having said that however, we must insist that the U1 should be paid to the authorities regardless of your circumstances. Thus, your refund request is probably not going to be successful.