What is the legal value of native electronic documents (that do not require signature by the parties)?
The majority of legislation generally recognizes the validity and probative value of documents that are natively electronic (i.e., created as electronic originals), subject to compliance requirements.
Except when a specific form is required by law (ex. reference letters, termination letters and dismissal notices), HR records can be created electronically in Germany.
Electronic paystubs are legally possible but may require employee consent and/or an agreement with the works council (if any). Separately, employers are required to hand employees a wet-ink signed paper document containing the essential contractual conditions (Sec. 2 (1) Act on Notification of Conditions Governing an Employment Relationship, NachweisG). Note that this document does not have to be retained by the employer, but it is recommended in case it’s necessary for evidence purposes.