Corona and short-time work



Many companies feel compelled to prepare urgent labour law measures due to economic difficulties and bottlenecks caused by the CORONAVIRUS. If your company does not “run well” because customers stay away because of the coronavirus, if you cannot deploy your employees or if the interruption of supply chains and production losses become the rule, then you as an employer bear this economic risk in terms of wage costs.


The good news: there is an alternative to (business-related) dismissals: SHORT WORK.

The employer is entitled to introduce short-time work in the event of a significant, unavoidable loss of working hours due to economic reasons or an unavoidable event, such as the Corona Covid 19 crisis. The requirements are as follows:

  • The employer must conclude a corresponding agreement on short-time work with the work council.
  • If there is no work council or no basis in collective bargaining law, an agreement must be reached individually with the employee concerned. This can already be included in the employment contract. Should this be the case, the clause must be checked for its validity. Otherwise, an agreement must now be drawn up. We are happy to offer support in this process.
  • A unilateral arrangement of short-time work is not permitted.
  • If there is no possibility to employ the employees even to a limited extent, the option of the so-called “short-time work zero” exists as a permissible arrangement.
  • The employer must then report the short-time work to the Federal Employment Agency. Pursuant to § 99, Subsection 3, SGB III, a written decision of the employment agency is required that, based on the presented and credibly demonstrated facts, there is a considerable loss of work and that the operational requirements are met. These facts are therefore to be presented as concretely as possible in the application.
    • A substantial loss of working hours within the meaning of § 96 Subsection 1 no. 4 SGB III is deemed to exist if at least 10% (according to the expected new legal situation as of the enactment of the ordinance) of the employees employed in the enterprise or the affected department of the enterprise – excluding trainees – lose more than 10% of their gross remuneration.
    • Priority is to be given to short-time working and all measures that can avoid the loss of working hours are to be taken, so the question of whether this can be prevented in whole or in part by granting leave for holidays must also be examined. As part of a balancing of interests, it must be decided whether and to what extent, in other words, leave must be taken and time credits, if any, reduced before an application is made. If you wish to take action in this direction, we will be pleased to support you by checking the specific requirements, preparing appropriate agreements and filing applications.

If these prerequisites are met, the regulations on short-time allowance will apply to the benefit of both employer and employee. Since 1.4.2012, these are regulated in §§ 95 ff. SGB III:

    • After successful application, employees receive short-time allowance for a period of up to twelve months from the Federal Employment Agency.
  • The short-time allowance amounts to 60% or, for employees with children, 67% of the last net salary received.
  • The social security contributions are paid in full.


Further TIP:

Keep an eye on the federal government’s package of measures against the Corona crisis.

According to this package, there should be easier access to liquidity support and credit programmes, as well as to guarantees. Tax relief is also planned, especially the granting of hours (deferrals) should be made easier. Applications for suspension or deferral of, for example, advance tax payments can be made with reference to lack of liquidity. You are welcome to contact us in this regard.

Furthermore, the possibility of a deferral of social security contributions pursuant to § 76 (2) sentence 1 no. 1 SGB IV should be examined. Accordingly, claims to the total social security contribution may be deferred if immediate collection would be associated with considerable hardship for the company and the claim is not jeopardised by the deferral.

In addition, we refer to our guidance for employers on the corona epidemic.


Please note that we cannot and may not provide legal advice on a case-by-case basis within the framework of our homepage. Our advice is given to the best of our knowledge, however, we cannot guarantee its accuracy and completeness. This is particularly true in view of the rapid development of the corona pandemic. Numerous questions in this context have not yet been conclusively clarified.

We would be pleased to advise you directly on these issues. Please contact us for further information:


Susanne Schröder

Labour Law

Geschäftsführerin/Managing Director
Rechtsanwältin/Fachanwältin für Arbeitsrecht
Lawyer/Attorney specialized in labour law
Lehrbeauftragte der Hochschule der Bayerischen Wirtschaft (HDBW) für Wirtschaftsrecht

Sandra Weitl LL.M.Eur.

Labour Law

Rechtsanwältin/Fachanwältin für Arbeitsrecht
Lawyer/Attorney specialized in labour law