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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-2020-14/620 Updated – measures in Germany

First collective agreement on short-time working for municipal workers

COVID-19-Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 31 December 2021
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 15 April 2020 (updated 10 November 2021)

Background information

Public sector workers and workers employed with companies in public ownership are strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis but in very different ways. On the one side, municipal workers are affected by the downsizing of public transport and the lockdown of cultural and social life, whereas on the other side public health workers or workers in local job centers of the federal employment agency suffer from work overload.

The protecting the former group of workers and for supporting companies in public ownership the municipal employers, the United Services Union (ver.di) and the Civil Servants Union dbb on 2 April settled the basic aspects for an agreement on short time working. The new agreement shall stipulate that the municipal employers under the condition of the consent of the staff councils can proceed in the same ways as a private employer and can apply for short time working allowance by the federal employment agency. The short time work must be announced seven days in advance.

Members of the bargaining partners can criticize the plans until 15 April; the collective agreement will be finalised afterwards. It lasts until 31 December 2020.

Content of measure

The agreement stipulates regulations similar to those in the private sector.

  • For coping with the lockdowns and the downturn of business and administrative operations, employers and workers shall first use overtime and agreed working time accounts.
  • In case legal requirements (Social Code Book III) are met and more than 10% of the workers face wage losses of more than 10%, the public employer under the condition of the consent of the staff council may apply short-time working. Short-time work has to be announced seven days in advance.
  • Employers shall raise the public short-time work allowance (60% of net monthly income for persons without children, 67% for those with children) to up to 90% to 95% of the net monthly income depending on the wage level. Lower wage levels shall receive more.
  • Workers shall have dismissal protection during short time working and until three months after the end of short time working period.
  • Employees on fixed term contracts whose contract is not renewed because of short time working shall be privileged in the hiring process after the end of the crisis.


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

25 October 2020

As part of the regular collective bargaining agreement for the public sector on 25 October 2020, the regulation on topping up the short-time allowance was extended until 31 December 2021. In addition, ver.di and VKA undertake to assess the current situation by 31 October 2021 and, if necessary, to hold talks to reassess the provisions of the TV COVID.

Use of measure

No information is available.


  • Employment retention
  • Income protection
  • Other topics
  • Working time flexibility

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Workers in non-standard forms of 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



Views and reactions

The agreement was settled by the United Services Union (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, ver.di) and the Municipal Employers Association (Vereinigung Kommunaler Arbeitgeberverbände, VKA).

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      O - Public Administration And Defence; Compulsory Social Security O84 Public administration and defence; compulsory social security

This case is not occupation-specific.



Eurofound (2020), First collective agreement on short-time working for municipal workers, measure DE-2020-14/620 (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.