Lufthansa puts 27,000 workers on short hours

Full Screen
1 / 3

(c) Copyright 2020, dpa ( Alle Rechte vorbehalten

Lufthansa passenger planes are parked on the closed runway northwest of Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, March 26, 2020. Lufthansa parked jets not needed during the coronavirus crisis there. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Uli Deck/dpa via AP)

FRANKFURT – German airline Lufthansa is putting 27,000 of its 35,000 employees on short hours under a government support program that will ensure they get most of their pay while the virus outbreak reduces air traffic.

The company also said in a news release Monday that top managers and board members would forego part of their pay for at least six months.

The company said the short work hours agreed upon with employee representatives covers cabin and ground staff. A separate agreement with pilots has not yet been reached.

Under the agreements, the airline will use a government program that pays 60% of the salary of employees, 67% for those with children, and the company will top them up to up to 90% of net salary.

“We want to secure the jobs of our employees in these difficult and unusual times,” the airlines' human resources chief, Michael Niggemann, said in a statement. “Our goal remains to avoid redundancies.”

The German short-work program enabled companies to retain employees during a shutdown that is temporary and not the fault of the company. It was widely used during the 2009 recession. It supported 1.5 million workers in 2009, limiting unemployment during the recession.

German officials say they expect 2.35 million workers to take advantage of the wage subsidy program this year.