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-2020-27/592 – measures in Germany
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 July 2020 – 31 July 2020|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Remuneration and rewards for workers in essential services
|Author||Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||14 April 2020 (updated 10 November 2021)|
Wages and working conditions of health care workers and a strong labour shortage have been a matter of concern for long; in 2018 government even set up an expert commission to address these problems. Industrial relations are poorly developed, a sectoral collective agreement is not in place; a statutory minimum wage is set by a sectoral minimum wage commission composed of various stakeholders. Major church-related organisations, NGO and private employers do not engage in collective bargaining; employers criticize the underfinancing of the statutory heath insurance.
Against this background the new sectoral agreement on a COVID-19 bonus for health care workers is a very new development. Some NGO founded the employer organisation BVAP for changing employment relations in the sector by engaging in collective bargaining. Wage negotiations with the United Services Union ver.di are ongoing since late 2019. Business organisations are highly critical of the new agreement saying that they do not see where the money shall come from.
The collective bargaining partners BVAP and ver.di wish for their agreements - this one as well as future ones - to be extended by the labour minister.
The agreement covers skilled and unskilled care workers as well as workers in managerial positions in residential care homes and in ambulant care. They shall be paid an extra €1,500 bonus in July 2020 on top of their monthly wage as compensation for the very strong burden they carry because of COVID-19. Part time workers shall receive the bonus depending on the number of hours worked. Trainees in vocational training shall receive €900 extra.
The agreement is independent of the collective bargaining partners' ongoing negotiations of a sectoral wage agreement. The bonus shall be paid on top of and shall have no impact on the level of the wage.
Only preliminary data is available. A study by the tax consultancy ETL Advision on wage comparisons in the care sector concludes that by December 2020, more than 40% of employees nationwide in the outpatient and semi-inpatient care companies studied had not received the tax-free Corona premium. The study covers more than 1,000 care services.
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:
Agreement settled by the newly founded federal association of employers in the health care sector (Bundesverband der Arbeitgeber in der Pflegebranche, BVAP) - members are a.o. the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) and the Arbeitersamariterbund (ASB) - and the United Services Union (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, ver.di).
This case is sector-specific (only private sector)
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities||Q86 Human health activities|
|Q87 Residential care activities|
This case is occupation-specific
|Occupation (ISCO level 2)|
Eurofound (2020), Sectoral agreement on bonus for eldercare workers, measure DE-2020-27/592 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2020-27_592.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.