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Should I consent to a short-time work agreement ("Kurzarbeit")?

When is my consent required to short-time work being implemented?

An agreement to implement short-time work requires the consent of the employee or, in case a works council (“Betriebsrat”) exists for the specific entity, an employer-works council agreement (“Betriebsvereinbarung” = agreement between the works council and the employer concerning specific working conditions) on the implementation of short-time work between employer and works council.

The employee may also have already consented to being put into short-time work through having signed a specific general clause on short-time work in his/her working contract or the consent may be included in a collective labour agreement that applies to the employment relationship. Should that not be the case and for the company resp. its specific entity a works council does not exist or the works council has not contracted an employer-works council agreement, the employer must seek consent of the employee before being able to implement short-time work.

What should I consider before consenting to the implementation of short-time work?

Should your employer have to request your consent before being legally able to implement short-time work, take some time to consider whether you are willing to give your consent:

  • Examine the economic impact the implementation short-time work will have for you.
  • Only consent the implementation of short-time work if you are contractually-guaranteed that it can only be implemented if and when your short-time work benefit (“Kurzarbeitergeld”) is ensured to be paid to you!
  • Further, it should be contractually agreed upon that the employer cannot declare your redundancy not only for, but during the period of your short-time work.
  • Lastly, you should clarify whether your employer is willing to top up your short-time work benefit with an additional amount.

Because short-time work benefits merely amount to 60% of your net income difference (“Nettoentgeltdifferenz”) or, in case you have at least one child entitled to your financial maintenance in terms of personal income tax, 67% of your net income difference. This means in effect, that when working in short-time working 0 (= you are supposed to not work at all) you will only receive 60% resp. 67% of your (generalized) net income – a considerable loss of income!
 Don’t hastily sign an already prepared declaration of consent, with which you consent the implementation of short-time work!

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