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The German Government decides on a further Corona relief program

Financial help for employees on short-time working and for employment seekers

The COVID-19 pandemic particularly affects workers on short-time work and job seekers. The Federal Government's Social Protection Package II of 22 April 2020 provides for further measures to mitigate the financial disadvantages for those affected, as well as further procedural simplifications for the purpose of health protection.

The Social Protection Package II of the Federal Government of 22 April 2020 provides, inter alia, for the following measures and simplifications:

Extension of the exemption on crediting of additional earnings against short-time work compensation to all areas of employment

Previously, additional earnings of employees on short-time work generated as part of a secondary employment had to be offset against short-time work compensation if the secondary employment was taken up after the start of short-time work. For employees on short-time work who received their additional earnings from a system-relevant secondary employment, specific exemptions applied, pursuant to which there was no offsetting/deduction of such additional earnings up to the ceiling amount (which is identical with the full amount of the previous income).

Now the scope of application of the exemption will be broadened. Additional earnings of employees on short-time work, regardless of whether they are generated in a system-relevant sector, will not be offset against short-time work compensation in the period from 1 May 2020 to 31 December 2020 up to the ceiling amount referred to hereinabove.

Payment-duration-dependent increase of short-time work compensation for employees whose working time is reduced by at least 50 %

For recipients of short time work compensation whose working time has been reduced by at least 50%, as of the 4th month of the entitlement, the short-time work compensation is increased to 70 %(or 77 % for households with children) and again from the 7th month of the entitlement, to 80 % (or 87 % for households with children), with the percentages in each case to be calculated on the basis of the difference of the net salary. The increase is to apply until 31 December 2020.

Extension of Unemployment Allowance I by three months

Individuals who already prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic were searching for a new job and entitled to receive Unemployment Allowance I are currently facing particular challenges in finding a new job. In addition, the placement and professional development opportunities offered by the employment agencies are limited. To alleviate these hardships for job seekers, the term during which Unemployment Allowance I can be received is to be extended by three months for those whose entitlement would otherwise end between 1 May 2020 and 31 December 2020.

Exemptions from physical presence requirements

In order to take care of health protection, the possibility of videoconferencing in labour and social court proceedings will be extended. To this end, the regulations concerning the written procedure at the Federal Labour Court and the Federal Social Court are to be amended. Finally, certain bodies will also be allowed to hold their meetings by video or telephone conferences. These bodies for example include the Minimum Wage Commission and homework committees; also the negotiations of the collective bargaining committee in connection with the declaration of collective agreements as generally binding can forthwith be held by video or phone conferences.

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