In Germany, 650,000 companies have already registered short-time work during the corona crisis. The Federal Employment Agency (BA) in Nuremberg announced this. This means an increase of around 40 percent compared to the most recent comparison value. As of March 27, the number of 470,000 companies had been determined.
How many people will be affected by short-time work, it is initially not possible to determine, it was said. “We can only say that exactly when the short-time work is billed,” said BA boss Detlef Scheele.
However, the authority assumes that its number will be “significantly” above the level of the financial and economic crisis in 2009. Back then, up to 1.4 million people were on short-time work. The government expects around 2.1 million short-time workers. Short-time work ads come from all industries, primarily hospitality and retail.
DGB calls for an increase in short-time work benefits to 80 and 87 percent
The federal government had decided to improve short-time benefits due to the urgent pandemic, which have been retroactive since March 1. Companies can apply for short-time work benefits when ten percent of employees in the company are affected by absenteeism instead of a third previously. In addition, employers are fully reimbursed for the social security contributions that they also have to pay for short-time work. The aim is to keep jobs.
The employees concerned receive 60 percent of their net salary. If they have children, it is 67 percent. The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) calls for an increase to 80 and 87 percent, respectively. Otherwise, low-income workers could slide into poverty. The current rates should be raised for a limited period of three months, said DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann.
Corona cabinet could advise on increase
At noon, the demand should also become an issue in the so-called Corona Cabinet. The Federal Government Committee, headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), regularly gives advice on measures to combat the crisis.
Labor minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had brought in a general increase a few days ago and announced that he would talk to employers and unions about it. Recently, a study had also shown that without short-time allowance, the damage to the economy would be much greater. Preservation of jobs is slowing the recession.
DGB chief Hoffmann said that unfortunately a joint solution with the employers to increase the number was not possible, so the way for a legal increase must now be cleared. “We will see that people who have lost 40 percent of their income can no longer pay their rents or installment loans for their cars or their homes. Electricity, water, broadcasting fees – everything that arises will be a significant burden for them.”
BA warns of more complicated procedures
“It is absolutely right that security and liquidity are guaranteed for companies,” said the DGB boss, referring to the help that has been given to the economy in the corona crisis. “What we also need is a clear signal to people that they too are being brought through this difficult time and will not end up in social welfare.”
BA boss Scheele said of the discussion about increasing or expanding performance: “It is crucial for us as the administration that we can only cope with the increase in advertisements if the process remains as unbureaucratic as it is now. It must not be complicated will.” At the moment, 8,000 employees at the employment agencies alone are responsible for processing the advertisements.