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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-2020-33/1152 Updated – measures in Germany

Premium for hospital workers

COVID-19 Prämie für Klinikbeschäftigte

Country Germany , applies regionally
Time period Open ended, started on 11 August 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Bipartite collective agreements
Category 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 17 September 2020 (updated 20 February 2023)

Background information

Hospital workers face strong constraints because of the pandemic and an above average risk of infections. Staff shortages, long working hours and a high work load of care workers in hospitals is a long standing problem. Whereas public hospitals are covered by public sector agreements concluded with either the municipal employers or with the 16 federal states, private hospitals settle company agreements, if at all. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ver.di reached several single-employer agreements on a COVID-19 premium.

Content of measure

Ver.di has been campaigning for a pay rise and better working conditions for hospital workers for a long time. Local pacts for better care (Lokale Bündnisse Pflege) call for better conditions in hospitals. Several hospitals in public ownership reacted by agreeing on a COVID-19 premium. The amount of the premium varies.

The first agreement was reached with a public hospital group in Baden-Württemberg. The employer agreed on paying a premium of €500 for three months and also to include service companies into the provision. Similar agreements were settled with companies in Berlin, Saxony and in some other federal states.


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

24 November 2021

The new German government announced in their coalition agreement of November 2021 that there will be a second COVID-19 special payment for care workers in elderly and hospital care in the year 2022. To finance the measure the federal government would provide €1 billion in co-financing and set a framework in which payments of up to €3,000 will be exempted from tax duties and social security contributions. Eligibility criteria for employees are still under discussion. No concrete starting date for the measure has been announced yet.

03 September 2020

In September 2020, the public health insurance funds together with the German Hospital Society agreed on a COVID-19 special payment of up to 1000 EUR per employee (BMG 2020). The payment was co-financed by the health funds with 100 million EUR. Eligible for the financial support were hospitals with a certain number of COVID-19 patients. The special payment was eligible for care workers who directly worked with COVID-19 patients.

Use of measure

No data. In total, the number of these single-employer ageements on premia for hospital care workers is very low.

This is why the public insurance funds together with the German Hospital Society (Deutsche Krankenhausgeselleschaft) - the interest organisation of hospitals - and the federal minister for health are now in debate over a scheme of publically funded premia scheme.


  • Bonuses

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Workers in essential services
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social partners jointly
Company / Companies

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • Only trade unions
  • Main level of involvement: Company level


  1. There is no collective bargaining structure for Germany's private hospital sector. This concerns private hospitals in public ownership, which are not covered by public sector CBAs.
  2. Employer organisations were not involved, only single employers (private hospitals). The agreements were individually settled between single employers and the United Services Union ver.di.
  3. The United Services Union ver.di pushed for the bonuses. Single employers are covering the cost of the premia.

Views and reactions

There is a broad consenus between employers and the United Services Union ver.di in support of the measure.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities Q86 Human health activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Health associate professionals
      Health professionals



Eurofound (2020), Premium for hospital workers , measure DE-2020-33/1152 (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.