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Germany – Flexible working reaches new high

31 July 2012

Working flexibly in Germany appears to be a rising trend as “atypical” employment, which includes temporary staffing and part-time work, has reached a new high in 2011, the national statistics office reports this week.

In total, 7.92 million people could be found in this type of employment, a yearly increase of 80,000, but the penetration rate (the proportion of atypical employees to the total workforce) actually declined from 22.4% to 22.1%.

This was mainly due to a steep rise of workers in “normal” employment, i.e. full-time employees on indefinite contracts who are subject to social contributions. Within a year their number rose by 610,000 in 2011 to 23.67 million, which is, however, lower to figures seen 10 years ago (23.74 million).

The statistics office said that atypical employment in Germany has been relatively “stable”, as the rate has been floating around the 22% mark since 2006.

The German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) has meanwhile called for the introduction of a national minimum wage, claiming that those in flexible employment are often “victims” of wage dumping. This comes after official figures last week showed that 11% of employees in Germany were earning less than €8.50 per hour in 2010, leading to renewed discussion about whether a national minimum wage should be implemented. 

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