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-2021-1/865 – measures in Germany
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 January 2021|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
|Author||Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||21 May 2020 (updated 22 July 2021)|
The German meat processing industry used to employ posted workers and workers from temporary work agencies; working conditions and conditions of their accomodation have been in controversial debate for years. Government aimed to solve the problem by settling agreements with the industry guaranteeing ethical conduct and better working conditions. But the pandemic revealed shortcomings in occupational health and safety, infection prevention and health protection standards, and the resulting high number of infections, led to new regulations on labour inspection in general and on the conditions in the meat industry in particular. New regulations came into force 1 January 2021. The competent authorities shall enforce them vigorously.
New regulation for the meat industry are (Labour inspection regulation act):
No information available yet.
Workers in non-standard forms of employment
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
No special funding required
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Previous government measures aimed at regulating the working conditions of posted and foreign temporary agency workers based on voluntary agreements with the employer organisation failed (Bosch, Hüttenhoff, Weinkopf 2020). This legislation was pushed for by the sectoral trade union NGG and by Faire Mobiliät, the DGB-based network of support for cross-border and posted workers. Neither one of the social partners was directly involved in the legislation.
On the side of trade unions, the measures were welcomed. The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and Nahrung-Genuss-Gaststätten (NGG), a trade union in the food industry, welcomed the regulations as a basis to put an end to organising the entire production process through chains of subcontractors.
On the side of employer organisations, the measures were criticised. The Central Association of the German Poultry Industry described the decision 'wrong and disproportionate' and as a risk to keeping factories open and preserving jobs.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|C - Manufacturing||C10 Manufacture of food products|
|Occupation (ISCO level 2)|
|Food processing, wood working, garment and other craft and related trades workers|
Eurofound (2020), Stricter regulations for the meat industry, measure DE-2021-1/865 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2021-1_865.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.