Every year, 15,000 employees from the tire division receive a pot of almost three million euros to subsidize a reduction in working hours. The conditions under which this is done have yet to be defined in some cases.
For companies such as the tire manufacturer and automotive technology specialist conti, it is becoming increasingly important to take into account an aging workforce or to pay attention to the work-life balance of the younger employees. Partly there are already voluntary regulations, others are pushed by the unions. According to conti, the new regulation affects 560,000 employees nationwide who are covered by the collective bargaining agreement of the mining, chemical and energy industries union. These requirements also apply to conti’s tire division.
One example of conti’s reform is older shift workers who can reduce their work week to four days a week. They have to save two-thirds of it. Conti finances the rest of the downtime.
The calculation can be as follows: from the age of 55, workers are entitled to two and a half hours off per week under the collective agreement – in other words, instead of a 37.5-hour week, only one with 35 hours. They can now continue to work full time until they are 60 and save their two and a half hours in an account. Five years before retirement, part-time starts with four-day weeks. In doing so, one continues to save one’s 2.5 hours of "age-free time" instead of taking it. This is how 5 hours of the 7.5-hour day come together. The last third of the staff will be paid out of the pot, into which conti puts 200 euros per full-time position every year.
Other models help the younger ones. They allow time off with wage compensation, for example to care for parents, to further their education or to complete a master’s degree. Whether full wage compensation is granted for the reduced working hours or whether there is also a loss of pay has yet to be regulated in detail at the sites with company agreements. It also matters how many people want – or need – to take advantage of the opportunities. The volume of the pot is limited, any surplus will be carried over to the next year.
Taking greater account of the life phases of employees is a virulent issue. Employees of the technology group bosch, for example, can now take time off to spend with their families as part of their career. For demands then a parental leave is equated for example foreign stays. At baden-wurttemberg machine manufacturer trumpf, an account of working time can be saved up to later be paid off in blocks.