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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-2020-36/1139 – measures in Germany

One-time premium for construction workers

Einmalige Sonderzahlung

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, started on 03 September 2020
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
Case created 15 September 2020 (updated 23 November 2020)

Background information

Compared to other sectors, the construction sector was less affected by COVID-19. The sector also profits from the public recovery programme and public investments in infrastructure and building retrofits. In the 2020 collective bargaining round, the construction workers union IG BAU raised demands for a wage rise, for a reimbursement of transport costs to and from a construction site and, additionally, for a COVID-19 premium. The negotiations with the employer organisation failed and the collective bargaining partners had to involve an arbitrator who decided in favour of several union demands. The social partners accepted the arbitrator decision on 17 September 2020

Content of measure

On 3 September 2020, the arbitrator decided in favour of travel-to-and-from work reimbursements, wage increases, and a one-time COVID-19 premium. The COVID-19 premia are €500 for workers and €250 for apprentices. No taxes or social security contribution apply to the premia, meaning the workers receive the full amount with no deductions. The wage increase includes a recognition of workers' travel expenses for the journey to and from work. This wage increase alone is equivalent to 0.5% increase of one hourly wage. The total wage increases, from January 2020, vary according to different regions and lie around 2%.

Use of measure

No data at this point.


  • Bonuses
  • Pay increases

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social partners jointly

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


(1) The 2020 collective bargaining round took place, but failed. (2) All social partners accepted an arbitrator decision on 17 September 2020. (3) Employers cover the cost of the premia and wage increases.

Views and reactions

The social partners had to involve an arbitrator who decided in favour of several union demands. All social partners agreed to the arbitrator decision.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      F - Construction F41 Construction of buildings

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 17 September 2020: One-time premium for construction workers (


Eurofound (2020), One-time premium for construction workers, case DE-2020-36/1139 (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.