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Short-time work regulations: Corona and short-time work: what is important now message


“Something must be done immediately so that the employees can remain in the factories, but also that the liquidity of the companies is secured,” said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. To this end, the previous short-time working regulations to support companies have been limited in time until the end of 2020 and will come into force retrospectively from 1 March 2020.

h2> Basic framework for short-time work benefits

All commercial companies can apply for short-time work, including companies that serve cultural or social purposes. In addition, short-time working is not dependent on the size of the company. There must be at least one dependent worker who is subject to social security contributions.

Short-time work allowance can generally be granted if a reduction in working hours has been agreed between the employer and the employee and if there is a substantial loss of work accompanied by a loss of earnings. This loss of work must be based on economic reasons or an unavoidable event (e.g. flood, official order). In addition, the loss of work must be temporary. This means that the transition to regular working hours can generally be expected within the reference period. In addition, the loss of work must be reported to the employment agency.

h2> Corona pandemic: Services are being expanded

The Federal Government has now expanded these basic requirements due to the corona virus. The new regulations stipulate that companies can register short-time work if there is a loss of work of ten percent of the workforce. So far, this threshold was 30 percent of the workforce. The period for receiving short-time work benefits has been extended from twelve to 24 months. In addition, companies do not build up negative working time balances before paying short-time work benefits. Nevertheless, companies must have taken all reasonable means to avert lost work. This also includes the granting of vacation time or the introduction of any existing working time credits. Leave entitlements must be planned for the current year before short-time work begins. Any remaining leave from the previous year must be reduced before short-time work. Temporary workers can also receive short-time work benefits in the future. In addition, the Federal Employment Agency fully reimburses social security contributions for lost working hours.

h2> How much money do employees get?

Short-time work allowance is intended to at least partially compensate for earnings and is only granted for lost working hours. Employees without children receive 60 percent of the difference to the net wage. For employees who have at least one child, it is 67 percent of the net wages lost. Anyone who would only work four days a week instead of the usual five days would continue to receive 80 percent of their wages from the employer. For the remaining 20 percent, employees without children receive 60 percent of the daily wage. This corresponds to 12 percent of the weekly wage, so that a total of 92 percent of the wages would continue to be paid.

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Image sources: Jirsak /, Rohatynchuk Mykola /

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