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
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 31 December 2020|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
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)|
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.
The agreement settles:
Wage negotiations are postponed until the end of the pandemic.
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).
Employees in standard employment
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners jointly
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:
The agreement was settled by the social partners.
Agreement of the metalworkers union IG Metall and the regional affiliate of the employer organisation Gesamtmetall.
|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, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2020-14_420.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.