Wolfgang Däubler



Germany has had rules in place on short-time work for almost one hundred years. In the current situation of the Coronavirus pandemic, these rules play a pivotal role. The basic idea is simple: For the temporary, crisis-related reduction in working hours, the workers in question receive a wage compensation payment of 60 to 70 percent of their previous net income. They keep their jobs. This is also advantageous for the employer. When the crisis is over, the employer has all the workers necessary for a return to normal operations at his or her disposal again. This system last proved its worth during the recession of 2008/2009. Nevertheless, the practical management of this situation raises a series of detailed questions. The most important of which is: Do the workers in question first have to take their annual leave and work off their time credits before they can have access to payments from the State? As long as the lack of work is of a temporary nature, reduced working hours take precedence over redundancies. Workers can only be made redundant during a phase of reduced working hours if new conditions enter into play that result in a lasting reduction in the overall workload.

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