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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case DE-2020-14/420 – 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
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
Case created 09 April 2020 (updated 05 May 2020)

Background information

The metal and electrical sector faces enourmous 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

Use of measure

No information yet available.


  • Employment retention
  • Income protection
  • Leave arrangements
  • Solidarity

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses 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



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 , case DE-2020-14/420 (measures in Germany), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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