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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-2020-14/420 Updated – measures in Germany

Metal and electrical sector: Social partners settle crisis agreement

Solidartarifvertrag 2020

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 31 December 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Bipartite collective agreements
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound
Measure added 09 April 2020 (updated 10 November 2021)

Background information

The metal and electrical sector faces enormous challenges due to digitalisation, the transformation to emobility and growing global competition; the risk of major job losses became an issue already in 2019. In face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective bargaining partners interrupted the ongoing bargaining round and settled an agreement aimed at supporting the companies and workers in getting through the crisis by an extensive use of short time work.

The so-called 'Solidarity collective agreement' was first concluded by the collective bargaining partners in North-Rhine Westfalia and subsequently copied by the partners in all other regions.

It is noteworthy that the collective bargaining partners build on experiences in the economic crisis 2009/2010 when they also cooperated in campaigning against direct dismissals and for short time working.

Content of measure

The agreement settles:

  • that annual bonus payment shall be cut in twelve and used for raising the short time working allowance from 60% of the net monthly wage (standard) to 80% of the net monthly wage;
  • in case an annual bonus payment is not in place, a solidarity fund shall be established and the employer shall pay €350 per full-time equivalent into this solidarity funds. The funds shall be used for workers facing particular hardships. In case the money is not used up by the end of the year, it shall be distributed to the workers;
  • parents with children up to twelve years get five extra days of care leave. Also, they may choose between the annual bonus payment (resp. the extra on the short time allowance) or extra days of leave.

Wage negotiations are postponed until the end of the pandemic.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

31 December 2020

This measure expired on 31 December 2020.

Use of measure

The short time working scheme was very strongly used in April and May 2020 during and shortly after the first strict COVID-19 lockdown; since spring 2020, the application of the scheme persistently declined in all metal and electrical subsectors. The car manufacturing sector stands out by a stronger use compared to other subsectors.

In April 59.4% of all car manufacturers applied the statutory short time working scheme, by August the share stood at 13.2% and by November at 4.4%. From November to March between 4% to 5.5% of the companies made use of the scheme. (Source: IFO 2021).


  • Employment retention
  • Income protection
  • Leave arrangements
  • Solidarity

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social partners jointly
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 Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


The agreement was settled by the social partners.

Views and reactions

Agreement of the metalworkers union IG Metall and the regional affiliate of the employer organisation Gesamtmetall.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      C - Manufacturing C25 Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment
      C26 Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products
      C27 Manufacture of electrical equipment
      C28 Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c.
      C29 Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers
      C30 Manufacture of other transport equipment

This case is not occupation-specific.



Eurofound (2020), Metal and electrical sector: Social partners settle crisis agreement, measure DE-2020-14/420 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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