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-2020-14/1581 – Updated – measures in Germany
, applies locally
|Time period||Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 07 April 2023|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
|Author||Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||09 December 2020 (updated 08 November 2023)|
The Böblingen city public utility company (Stadtwerke Böblingen) provides essential services to the German public, including electricity and water. The utility company also runs the city's swimming pools. Ninety employees work for the company. To avoid infections among employees and ensure business continuity for essential services, the local works council approached management with suggestions during the first German lockdown (from March 2020).
The agreement between the company and the works council included arrangements for flexible working time, shift work, team work, telework, short-time work, and leave arrangements for childcare. Fixed teams and fixed shifts protects employees in the office and those working outside the office on construction or maintenance jobs. An expansion of telework helps office workers implement social distancing. Short-time work arrangements protect employment with local swimming pools. The employer grants additional leave days for working parents. The employer cancelled the agreement during the Summer but took negotiations up again in Fall. The works council could negotiate the continuation of the agreement with amendments for the period of the second German lock down since November.
No information. The company employs a staff of about 90,000. The works agreement covers the blue and white collar workers (not the civil servants) employed with the company.
Employees in standard employment
Companies providing essential services
||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||No involvement|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The works council confirms that the changes in working arrangements and payment have contributed to securing jobs, keeping employees safe, and ensuring continuity of essential public services.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|D - Electricity, Gas, Steam And Air Conditioning Supply||D35 Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply|
|E - Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management And Remediation Activities||E36 Water collection, treatment and supply|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), Keeping workers safe at public utility company Böblingen, measure DE-2020-14/1581 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2020-14_1581.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.