Short-time work hits German wages in second quarter

Gross monthly earnings for full- and part-time workers in Germany fell 2.2% on average in the second quarter from a year ago, due mainly to the wide use of short-time work during the coronavirus crisis, the Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday. The hardest-hit sectors were hotels and hospitality, the auto sector and tour operators, it said. “The broad use of short-time working due to the coronavirus pandemic had a negative impact on the level and development of gross monthly earnings and working hours,” the Office said in a statement. It added, however, that the short-time work programme, under which employees temporarily work shorter hours but keep their jobs while the state makes up the shortfall, cushioned the loss of income for employees to a large extent. The Ifo institute said last week that the number of people in Germany on short-time work had fallen to 5.6 million. Hourly earnings before tax were not hit by short-time work, rising 2.6% on average in the second quarter from the same period last year, said the Office.

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