In order to facilitate access to the short-time working allowance for companies with corona virus (COVID-19) related absences from work, the German government created the basis for the "Regulation on the facilitation of short-time working (Short-time working allowance regulation - KugV)" with the "Act on the temporary crisis-related improvement of the regulations for short-time working allowance" of March 13, 2020. The regulation of March 25, 2020 was announced in the Federal Law Gazette on March 27, 2020 (Federal Law Gazette 2020 I 595) and entered into force retroactively as of March 1, 2020. It is initially valid until December 31, 2020.
The regulation contains three facilitations for access to short-time working allowance: The requirements for the granting of short-time working allowance are reduced, social security contributions on the short-time working allowance are fully reimbursed to the employer by the Employment Agency and short-time working is also opened up to temporary workers.
The threshold value of workers affected by work loss in the business operation is lowered. In deviation from the previous statutory regulation (§ 96.1 sentence 1 no. 4 SGB III), not at least one third of the employees must no longer be affected by a loss of earnings of more than ten per cent of their monthly gross salary in each case, but only at least ten per cent of the employees in the business operation or in the business operation department.
On the other hand, contrary to the previous statutory regulation (§ 96, Subsection 4, Sentence 2, No. 3, SGB III), the use of fluctuations in working time permitted in the company means that negative working time balances no longer have to be built up before short-time compensation can be paid. Only the reduction of positive working time balances - with a few statutory exceptions - continues to be a prerequisite for receiving short-time work compensation.
No. The social security contributions (employee and employer contributions) to be borne solely by the employer for the short-time working allowance are reimbursed by the Federal Employment Agency only upon application and in a lump-sum form. A social security lump sum (cf. § 153.1 sentence 2 no. 1 of the Third Book of the Code of Social Law) amounting to 21 percent of the assessment remuneration, less the amount for employment promotion, is taken as a basis. There are no further material requirements for the reimbursement of social security contributions under the KugV.
The KugV now also offers temporary employment agencies the possibility to agree short-time work with their temporary employees. Corresponding loss of work can be reported to the Agentur für Arbeit and short-time allowance for the temporary workers can be applied for. In this respect, the general legal requirements for short-time work apply. According to the KugV, there are no deviations specifically for temporary employees.
In a legislative feat, a further legislative package was passed by the German Parliament and the Federal Council within a week and announced in the Federal Law Gazette: The "Law for easier access to social security and for the deployment and protection of social service providers on the basis of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Social Protection Package)" of March 27, 2020 (Federal Law Gazette 2020 I 575). It essentially entered into force on March 28, 2020. The aim of the law is to mitigate the noticeable effects of the coronavirus on economy and employment. We present the most important legal innovations for working life.
While many employees have to work short-time, personnel bottlenecks arise in other, mainly system-relevant industries. The Social Protection Package creates an incentive to take up work on a voluntary basis temporarily. Between April 1, 2020 and October 31, 2020 , employees can top up their short-time allowance by taking up a second job without counting towards the short-time allowance, provided that the sum of the income (short-time allowance, any earnings from the main job plus additional income) do not exceed the monthly target income from the original main job. Important restriction: The privileged treatment of additional earnings only applies to system-relevant occupations and industries. The benchmark for determining system relevance is the Regulation for the Determination of Critical Infrastructures under the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI-KritisV). It concerns industries and professions which are indispensable for public life, security and the provision of services to people. These include in particular health care, energy and water suppliers, transport sector and passenger transport, but also agriculture and the food industry and the supply of food to people.
Pensioners should also be motivated to take up (temporarily) an employment, especially in system-relevant industries, but not limited to these. Limited to the calendar year 2020, the annual additional income limit for pensioners due to old age before reaching the standard retirement age will be raised from EUR 6,300 to EUR 44,590. If the pensioner's earnings remain at this limit, the additional earnings will not be credited to the old-age pension.
From March 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020, the time limits for marginal part-time employees in the form of short-term employment will be raised to a maximum of five (previously three) months or 115 days (previously 70 days) within a calendar year. This is intended to counteract problems associated with seasonal work, especially in agriculture. However, the regulation applies to all sectors.
The Social Protection Package (§ 14 (4) ArbZG, new version) authorises the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to allow national exceptions to the applicable statutory or collective agreement regulations on working time for certain activities in exceptional emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic by means of a statutory ordinance. This authorisation is valid from March 28, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
The new regulation in the Working Time Act only applies to activities, necessary to the background of an exceptional emergency. This include activities
In a circular from the GKV Spitzenverband dated March 25, 2020, it was announced that employers have the possibility, under certain conditions and for a limited period in March and April 2020, to have social insurance contributions deferred on request in a simplified form.
Pursuant to Section 23 Social Security Act IV (SGB IV), social security contributions are due no later than the third-last bank working day of a month. If payment are not made on time, late payments surcharge are due in accordance with Section 24 SGB IX.
Under strict and usually unfulfillable conditions, an employer can apply for a deferral of social insurance contributions.
With the circular letter of March 25, 2020, the GKV Spitzenverband now simplifies the possibility of a deferral limited to the months of March and April 2020.
The facilitated deferral is then possible under the following conditions:
The request for deferral may also be made for contributions already due for the month of March 2020.
The legislator has so far decided that there is no possibility of deferral for the payment of wage tax. The BMF letter of March 19, 2020 (IV A 3 - S 0336/19/10007 :002) does not concern the employee's tax.
Many parents have had to cut back on overtime or take unpaid leave because of the closure of childcare facilities and schools. Now there is a new state compensation claim.
The legal basis is Section 56 (1a) of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), which was newly introduced by the "Act to protect the population in the event of an epidemic situation of national importance" of March 27, 2020 (Federal Law Gazette 2020 I 587). The right to compensation is limited in time to the period from March 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020, i.e. any loss of earnings before March 30, 2020 is not covered by the right to compensation.
The following are entitled to benefits
The claim for compensation is subject to the following conditions
No compensation may be paid if and to the extent that
This is the case, for example, if there are still time credits in working time accounts. These must be reduced as a matter of priority.
According to the explanatory memorandum to the law, there should be another reasonable possibility of care, for example, if
Compensation shall be paid at the rate of 67 percent of the loss of earnings incurred by the working parent for a maximum of six weeks. A maximum of EUR 2,016 is granted for a full month.
It is the employer's duty to pre-finance the compensation payment of the State and to pay it on behalf of the competent authority. The due date of the compensation payment is determined by the due date of the salary earned from the previous activity. The employer's pre-financing should therefore be subject to the condition that the competent authority issues a positive decision on the grant.
The entitled persons have to explain the conditions of entitlement to the employer, in particular that there is no other reasonable option of care. The employer shall apply to the competent authority under national law for reimbursement of the compensation paid (loss of earnings and social security contributions) and attach the relevant evidence to the application. The authority will request any missing documents. The authority decides on the approval/rejection in a written decision.
The application for reimbursement shall be submitted to the competent authority within three months of the date on which the worker with custody ceased to work. On application, the employer shall receive an advance payment of the anticipated amount of the reimbursement.