Number of people on Germany’s short-time work seen rising higher than in 2009

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Some 650,000 companies had applied for short-time work in Germany by April 6 and the number of people on the scheme due to coronavirus is likely to be much higher than during the global financial crisis, the German Labour Office said on Thursday.

Short-time work is a form of state aid that allows employers to switch employees to shorter working hours during an economic downturn to keep them on the payroll. It has been widely used by industry, including Germany’s car sector.

In spring 2009 some 1.4 million employees were on the programme. The Labour Office said its data did not show the number of people for whom companies had registered for shorter working hours now.

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