European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case DE-2020-12/713 – measures in Germany

HR partnership between McDonald's and Aldi


Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, started on 20 March 2020
Type Company practices
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Smoothing frictions or reallocation of workers
Author Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound
Case created 17 April 2020 (updated 05 May 2020)

Background information

For halting the spread of COVID-19, since 22 March 2020 public gatherings of more than two persons are banned, except for families and persons living together. Restaurants habe been told to close unless they offer food delivery and pick up. Grocery stores on the other hand are permitted to stay open, sell groceries as well as other goods and because of a great number of customers are in need of staff.

Content of measure

Against this background two major employers, McDonalds and food discounter Aldi, developed the idea of staff exchange. The idea of staff exchange during times of crisis is not new but typically involves more than two companies. During the economic crisis 2009/2010 some employer-alliances were set up for exchanging staff at regional level. The bilateral inter-company cooperation by McDonalds and ALDI was developed by the human ressource departments of the two companies. When the measure started Aldi was in need of 3,000 addtional workers whereas Mc Donalds' franchise companies employed 60,000 workers at risk of unemployment. As explained by McDonald's HR manager, the comapny aimed at a very fast solution and and therefore focussed on the individual transfer to another company. McDonalds is affiliated to the federal association of system caterers BdS which negotiated a sectoral Corona-protection agreement with trade union NGG (see factsheet) which states that dismissals shall be avoided.

AldI's staff needs are communicated to regional McDonald's companies (franchises) which offer leaves for workers who want to take up these fixed-term jobs During the leave, wages are paid by ALDI.

Use of measure

No data provided. At the beginning of the lockdown, ALDI had a need for 3,000 extra staff.


  • Employment retention
  • Work organisation

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Company level



Views and reactions

No direct involvement by the trade unions but the partnership agreement relates to the sectoral agreement settled by system caterers and trade union NGO which settles that direct dismissal shall be avoided (see factsheet)

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      I - Accommodation And Food Service Activities I56 Food and beverage service activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Sales workers
      Food preparation assistants



Eurofound (2020), HR partnership between McDonald's and Aldi, case DE-2020-12/713 (measures in Germany), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.