The Department for Trade & Industry (DTI) is looking to secure a deal with the German government as part of its attempt to push for changes to the Agency Workers Directive.
UK employers have opposed the draft directive - which gives temporary staff the right to the same pay and conditions as permanent staff after six weeks in employment - because of fears it will damage the flexibility of the labour market and increase costs.
DTI officials have been talking to their counterparts in Germany and are now confident of securing their government's support on the UK's position of extending the six-week qualifying period to one year.
In return, the UK is to support Germany's position on the Takeover Directive that will change rules on takeovers and mergers in Europe.
A government source said the DTI is optimistic of securing support from Germany on extending the qualifying period for the agency workers directive at a Council of Ministers committee meeting on 6 March.
"We are working with the German government on a range of issues where we have concerns, although no final decision has been made," he said.
The Council of Ministers is unlikely to come to a final decision on the agency workers directive until June.