Number of German workers on reduced hours pay sees decline

The number of people in Germany working reduced hours – part of a government-funded scheme to save jobs during the pandemic – has declined, according to new figures by the Ifo economic research institute on Wednesday.

Dubbed short-time work, it is a government scheme to subsidize the wages of out-of-work employees in Germany, so that economically stricken companies don’t have to fire them.

In March, 2.7 million people were on short-time work, compared to 2.9 million in February, Ifo said.

“The decline happened in all sectors of the economy, especially in manufacturing,” said Ifo labour expert Sebastian Link.

The slight easing of coronavirus restrictions in retail and gastronomy also led to less short-time work, though the proportion of employees on the scheme in gastronomy was still very high, at 50.8 per cent, Link said.

In manufacturing, only 6.3 per cent of people were on the scheme in March, or 436,000 employees, Link said. In February, around 7.1 per cent of manufacturing employees had been on short-time work.

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