Should I sign this Kurzarbeit agreement?

14 posts in this topic

I work for this IT company, which actually is not doing too bad at the moment. However, they expect their pipeline to dry up/thin out because of the Corona crisis. In order to be prepared for the worst, they have asked all employees to sign a Kurzarbeit Individualvereinbarung, since there is no Betriebsrat. The agreement gives them the right to announce Kurzarbeit for the period of one year, up to 100% reduction.

 

I have no experience in this area, but it feels odd to me to basically give them the right to withhold 33% (I have children) of my paycheck for a year, without me having any form of control over it. After I sign it, there is no way for me to agree or check if they really did all they could have to reduce costs in another way.

 

I understand what Kurzarbeit is and I understand that it is probably better than being laid off; but my question is:

 

Do you think this is a fair agreement, considering that at the moment things aren't going too bad? Would you sign it?

 

Here is the text of the agreement (company name removed):

 

Quote

Vereinbarung zu Kurzarbeit 

Aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie und den Auswirkungen auf die gesamte Weltwirtschaft müssen wir davon ausgehen, dass auch unsere Kunden vor großen wirtschaftlichen Herausforderungen stehen und daher vorerst zurückhaltender in Innovationsprojekte investieren als bisher. Dies hätte zur Folge, dass sich auch unsere Auftragslage vorübergehend verschlechtert und wir nicht ausreichend ausgelastet sind. 

Auch wenn bislang nicht absehbar ist, ob und in welchen Umfang <Arbeitgeber> Kurzarbeit benötigen wird und ab welchem Zeitpunkt, schließen die Parteien vor diesem Hintergrund die folgende Vereinbarung: 

(1) <Arbeitgeber> ist ab dem 01.05.2020 und befristet bis zum 30.04.2021 berechtigt, mit einer Ankündigungsfrist von mindestens 3 Tagen Kurzarbeit anzuordnen, wenn ein erheblicher Arbeitsausfall vorliegt, der auf wirtschaftlichen Gründen oder einem unabwendbaren Ereignis beruht. In der Ankündigung wird die reduzierte Arbeitszeit und deren voraussichtliche Dauer angegeben. 

(2) Im Fall der Einführung von Kurzarbeit ist der/die Mitarbeiter/in mit der vorübergehenden Verkürzung seiner/ihrer vertraglich geregelten individuellen Arbeitszeit sowie der dementsprechenden Reduzierung seines/ihres vertraglich vereinbarten Gehalts einverstanden, wenn die gesetzlichen Voraussetzungen für die Gewährung von Kurzarbeitergeld (§§ 95 ff. SGB III) erfüllt sind und <Arbeitgeber> den Arbeitsausfall der Agentur für Arbeit gemäß § 99 SGB III angezeigt hat. 

(3) Der Arbeitgeber kann die Anordnung von Kurzarbeit jederzeit widerrufen. 

Die übrigen Bestimmungen des Arbeitsvertrages bleiben unberührt. 

 

 

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I work for a big IT services firm.  I am surprised they have yet to do something similar.

 

I would take Kurzarbeit over a real lay-off, which is coming soon in our industry.

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24 minutes ago, extramedium said:

dass sich auch unsere Auftragslage vorübergehend verschlechtert und wir nicht ausreichend ausgelastet sind. 

You have a contract and it says what you are supposed to do within 40h/week.

 

They assume they won't have work for 40h/week for you temporarily ("voruebergehend"). And they made an offer that does not alter the contract you have.

 

You certainly have the right to refrain from signing that offer, but this could result in a "betriebsbedingte Kuendigung". 

 

Your choice. You have something to offer, your ability to work, but it is not a seller's market at the moment.

 

29 minutes ago, extramedium said:

After I sign it, there is no way for me to agree or check if they really did all they could have to reduce costs in another way.

It is not the point whether they reduce costs, the point is if they acquire customers that have work to be done by you on a 40h/week basis.

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Since you have to get employees to agree on kurzarbeit beforehand, it looks like they're just preparing.  If work dries up, do you think they will offer you kurzarbeit again or just lay you off?

 

You say they will cut your wages by 33%.  However, it's not like you are still working and they are cutting your wages.  You are actually getting 67% for doing nothing.  You can use the time to learn new skills, look for another job or sit on the couch and watch netflix if you prefer.

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Already there, Monday, this is my second day of Kurzarbeit @90% reduction. But better this way than laid off.

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They just announced this at my firm, asked some co-workers about this and basically they said you take a small reduction in salary in exchange for working 4 days a week. I don't know the exact amount but the government pays around 50% of your salary. I believe as well it's paid directly without tax so you might get hit with a tax bill next year. 

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From the point of view of income, Kurzarbeit is very close to ALG-1 but keeping your job and it does not count towards the period of time you are entitled to ALG-1 (which is 12 months for most people).

 

Yes, you will receive "only" 67% in the worst case scenario, but YOU WON'T BE WORKING at all.

 

In a 50% scenario, your company pays you 50% of your salary and the other half would be calculated at 67% rate, so you will get in total of 83,50% of your original salary while working only half of the time.   Most companies will start at a 20% Kurzarbeit, so you will receive 80% from your company and a total of 93,40% of your salary and one extra free day a week (calculated based on a 5 days a week contract).

 

So, yes, Kurzarbeit is something good and you should be thankful Germany has something like that to give some air to companies so they are not bankrupt in the first 3 months of a crisis.   The only thing you should care about Kurzarbeit is if your company is going to do the paperwork for you, so they pay you the whole thing directly and they deal with the Arbeitsamt/Jobcenter/AfA or you have to chase the Arbeitsamt for their part, most big companies will do everything for you.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Krieg said:

From the point of view of income, Kurzarbeit is very close to ALG-1 but keeping your job and it does not count towards the period of time you are entitled to ALG-1 (which is 12 months for most people).

 

Yes, you will receive "only" 67% in the worst case scenario, but YOU WON'T BE WORKING at all.

 

In a 50% scenario, your company pays you 50% of your salary and the other half would be calculated at 67% rate, so you will get in total of 83,50% of your original salary while working only half of the time.   Most companies will start at a 20% Kurzarbeit, so you will receive 80% from your company and a total of 93,40% of your salary and one extra free day a week (calculated based on a 5 days a week contract).

 

So, yes, Kurzarbeit is something good and you should be thankful Germany has something like that to give some air to companies so they are not bankrupt in the first 3 months of a crisis.   The only thing you should care about Kurzarbeit is if your company is going to do the paperwork for you, so they pay you the whole thing directly and they deal with the Arbeitsamt/Jobcenter/AfA or you have to chase the Arbeitsamt for their part, most big companies will do everything for you.

 

 

Our company has taken care of the paperwork, thankfully, as I am a total Niete with papers and I have no tolerance for burocracy. I have to sacrifice three days holiday a month to get my 100% It could be a lot worst. 

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According to news today, the corona situation may actually be improving, so hold on and drag it on before you sign anything. Tell them you need a lawyer to look at it if you want to buy time. Who knows in two weeks the corona situation could be much more optimistic than it looks today.

 

Everyone on this forum and elsewhere is saying its good to take a pay cut. That we should be eternally grateful and thank the Almighty one that we have jobs.

The corona crisis in Europe is even hardly a month old. This is a classic Stockholm Syndrome mentality ingrained in us in employment.

 

German salaries are less than half the US ones, sufficient annual pay raises are almost unknown here,  for the exact reason that German companies should be more patient with employees during a crisis. But if in less than a month of a crisis, many are already offering pay-cuts and kurzarbeit contracts, then it defeats the purpose of why we earn modestly in the first place...

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9 minutes ago, The Vindictive said:

According to news today, the corona situation may actually be improving, so hold on and drag it on before you sign anything. Tell them you need a lawyer to look at it if you want to buy time. Who knows in two weeks the corona situation could be much more optimistic than it looks today.

 

Everyone on this forum and elsewhere is saying its good to take a pay cut. That we should be eternally grateful and thank the Almighty one that we have jobs.

The corona crisis in Europe is even hardly a month old. This is a classic Stockholm Syndrome mentality ingrained in us in employment.

 

Plenty of companies do not have enough cash flow to keep their payroll for more than 2 months in a crisis.  Why do you think the Kurzarbeit program was created back in 2008 and why UK and France copied it?

 

If you are part of the Kurzarbeit program you work indeed less time, proving the company can't work at full load.    

 

9 minutes ago, The Vindictive said:

 

German salaries are less than half the US ones, sufficient annual pay raises are almost unknown here,  for the exact reason that German companies should be more patient with employees during a crisis. But if in less than a month of a crisis, many are already offering pay-cuts and kurzarbeit contracts, then it defeats the purpose of why we earn modestly in the first place...

 

With almost zero income and low cash flow or even negative, how do you think companies would survive?  In the less protective countries they will have to fire employees and take expensive loans.

 

In companies with a work council the Kurzarbeit application should be approved by them, and I would say, this is one of the things almost every work council accepts with almost no discussion.   

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Yes, the usual shit from companies.

Bad times, less work, so employees take the impact. "Be grateful" this is better than being fired, they say.

Well, companies can:

- plan ahead for times of crisis

- take a loan

- sell a part of the company to raise money

 

So, when they are making money and having good business, will they share it with employees? will you get a bonus? will you get a rise? of course not. When times are good they the money, when bad you make an effort.

 

 

 

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Thanks everyone for their view on things. Still haven't decided what to do. Like I said, I understand what Kurzarbeit is and that it is better than getting fired. I just find it strange that my company asks me to sign this agreement for 100% reduction for a whole year, when actually things are not too bad yet at the moment. Still need to sleep on it for a couple of nights more.

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