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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

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 – measures in Germany

Keeping workers safe at public utility company Böblingen

Schutz von Arbeitnehmern der Stadtwerke Böblingen

Country Germany , applies locally

    • – DE112 Böblingen
Time period Open ended, started on 01 April 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Bipartite collective agreements
Category 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 22 July 2021)

Background information

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).

Content of measure

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.

Use of measure

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.

Contents

  • Leave arrangements
  • Telework
  • Work organisation
  • Working time flexibility

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Companies providing essential services
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Employees
Employer
National funds

Social partners

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:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

  1. This is a company-level initiative. Company management reached an agreement on working arrangements together with the company works council, which represents all employees.
  2. Social partners outside the company were not directly involved.
  3. The employer, the state and employees jointly bear the cost of short-time work measures. Both the employer and individual workers bear some costs stemming from flexible working arrangements such as telework or fixed shifts. The employer bears the cost of additional leave days granted to working parents.

Views and reactions

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.

Sectors and occupations

    • 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
      E37 Sewerage

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

Citation

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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