Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure DE-2020-13/1262 – Updated – measures in Germany
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 28 March 2020 – 30 June 2022|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial)
|Author||Sandra Vogel and Marc Breitenbroich (IW) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||07 October 2020 (updated 26 September 2022)|
The COVID-19 pandemic affect the work of many social service providers, such as rehabilitation centres, workshops for people with disabilities or care institutions for the elderly or language schools. In many cases, work in such institutions was restricted due to the pandemic. As people working in the social services sector are very important in dealing with the current crisis, the Federal Government decided to adopt a new law helping social services to digitalise and to purchase technical and infrastructure equipment.
The so-called Social Service Provider Act is applicable to the full range of social service providers, regardless of their ownership (publicly, privately run commercial providers or not-for-profit organisations).
The Social Care Provider Act provides compensation payments for social service providers that are currently out of work or have to work shorter hours due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It came into effect at the end of March 2020. It creates the legal framework for service providers to keep paying social institutions their fees, even if the agreed service (e.g. taking care of people with disabilities or work with them in workshops) was not or not fully performed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In such a case, a maximum of 75% of the average amount received by the social service provider throughout the last 12 months can be continued to be paid. In addition to this national rule, the federal states can top up the amount if they consider this an adequate measure. The described measure is available to all social services providers, except for statutory health insurers.
The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.
|18 March 2022||
In March 2022, the Social Care Provider Act was prolonged until 30 June 2022.
|24 November 2021||
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on social care providers, measures under the Social Care Provider Act were prolonged until the end of March 2022.
|06 November 2021||
On 6 November 2020, the Federal Government decided to prolong measures initiated under the Social Care Provider Act until 31 March 2021. Alongside the prolongation of measures, the government also amended some of the existing rules: Firstly, the government clarified that only providers truly affected by the pandemic were eligible for receiving support. Secondly, social care providers in need of financial support will have to apply for 2021 funds again. However, grants will be calculated on the basis of the pre-COVID-19 financial situation of the provider and no longer on the last 12 months as was stipulated by the law before the amendments in autumn 2020.
|10 March 2021||
As part of the introduction of the Social Protection Act III, the Federal Government prolonged the special service guarantee of the Social Care Provider Act. The guarantee will end when the Bundestag determines the end of the epidemic situation. The latest date yet determined for the end of the guarantee is 31 December 2021.
Before the pandemic not-for profit social services were often poorly equipped with technical devices (mobile phones, computers). The provision of the KfW funds were vey much appreciated for improving the situation.
The Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs provided a monitoring report on the Social Care Provider Act. The report's results are based on an online-survey amongst 124 relevant social security institutions, federal states ministries/public authorities and care umbrella organisations. Preliminary results show that four months after the act took affect the bureaucratic burden in terms of documentation obligations was deemed as high and some participants reported on insecurities when it came to combining different grants (e.g. short-time work and grants provided under the Social Care Provider Act). Finally, the Social Care Provider Act was not applied in all federal states. Some federal states had set up their own regulations and these were used instead of the national regulations of the Social Care Provider Act. Until October 2020, around €800 billion were paid under the Social Care Provider Act.
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
Local / regional government
Public support service providers
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal||Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Social partners are usually involved are heard by the Federal Government when drafting national laws or other major regulations concerning the labour market. Though no formal tripartite social dialogue structure exists.
The not-for profit organisation Paritätischer Wohlfahrstverband (one of the main umbrella organisations in social care in Germany) stated that the maximum reimbursement stipulated in the new law was to low and more needs to be done. The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) additionally called on the legislator to include an obligation into the new law to evaluate the new measures. Whilst it was recommendable to support social service providers, it should be evaluated if the adopted measures fulfilled their purpose.
This case is sector-specific
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|S - Other Service Activities||S96 Other personal service activities|
This case is occupation-specific
|Occupation (ISCO level 2)|
|Legal, social and cultural professionals|
Eurofound (2020), Social Care Provider Act, measure DE-2020-13/1262 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2020-13_1262.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.