Legal Advice

Short-time working as a result of the Corona crisis

As a re­sult of the Corona cri­sis, the ca­pa­city uti­liza­tion of the work­force in nu­me­rous com­pa­nies is fal­ling si­gni­fi­cantly. Staff re­duc­tions are in the offing. This is to be avo­ided by ea­sing the bur­den of short-time working com­pen­sa­tion.

The nu­me­rous Coro­na­vi­rus in­fec­tions and state-im­po­sed qua­ran­tine mea­su­res are not only lea­ving their mark on the ca­pi­tal mar­kets and eco­no­mic fo­re­casts. Due to de­li­very dis­rup­ti­ons, mis­sing cu­st­omers and can­ce­led or­ders, the work­force of nu­me­rous com­pa­nies is no lon­ger being suf­fi­ci­ently uti­li­zed. In or­der to avoid end­an­ge­ring the com­pany, a re­duc­tion in per­son­nel will pro­bably be ne­cessary in many ca­ses.

Short-time working as a result of the corona crisis

To coun­ter­act this, the co­ali­tion com­mit­tee of the go­verning co­ali­tion at the fe­deral le­vel al­re­ady pas­sed a re­so­lu­tion on 8 March 2020, among other things, to re­duce the con­di­ti­ons for clai­ming short-time working com­pen­sa­tion.

The Bun­des­tag and Bun­des­rat had al­re­ady pas­sed a cor­re­spon­ding or­di­nance on 13 March 2020. This al­lows the Fe­deral Go­vern­ment to make the fol­lo­wing mo­di­fi­ca­ti­ons to the re­qui­re­ments th­rough an or­di­nance wi­thout the ap­pro­val of the Bun­des­rat, li­mited un­til the end of 2021:

  • The quo­rum above which a loss of earnings is con­side­red to be sub­stan­tial may be re­du­ced to up to 10% of the em­ployees em­ployed in the com­pany who are af­fec­ted by a loss of earnings of more than 10% of their monthly gross salary. Cur­rently, at least one-third of the work­force must be af­fec­ted.
  • At pre­sent, a loss of working hours is con­side­red avo­ida­ble, so that there is no en­tit­le­ment to short-time com­pen­sa­tion if it can be avo­ided in whole or in part by ta­king ad­van­tage of fluc­tua­ti­ons in working hours per­mit­ted in the com­pany. Howe­ver, the build-up of ne­ga­tive working time ba­lan­ces should be avo­ided in whole or in part.
  • Full or par­tial reim­bur­se­ment of em­ployer's so­cial in­surance contri­bu­ti­ons for em­ployees re­cei­ving short-time work com­pen­sa­tion can be in­tro­du­ced.

The Fe­deral Mi­nis­try of La­bor and So­cial Af­fairs points out on its home­page that these re­lief mea­su­res are to take ef­fect re­troac­tively as of 1 March 2020 and that short-time work com­pen­sa­tion is to be paid out re­troac­tively ac­cor­din­gly. The­re­fore, com­pa­nies could al­re­ady now ap­ply for short-time work ac­cor­ding to the mo­di­fied re­qui­re­ments.

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