March 3, 2009


From March 2009 I was asked by my employer RLE International to be in a system called "Kurzarbeit". An article from the German news agency DAPD derscribes "Kurzarbeit" as follows -

"Kurzarbeit" (German for “shorter working hours” or “reduced work”) refers to the temporary reduction of normal working hours in a company. It is an agreement reached between company management and employees with the end goal of preserving jobs in times of economic hardship. More specifically, it is designed to bridge temporary contract lulls or economic downturns without laying off employees by implementing reduced work weeks or shorter shifts for less payment if other initial measures, such as reduction of overtime or flexible shift patterns, are no longer effective.

The introduction of Kurzarbeit plans does not change much for employees – except that they usually have more free time and earn a little less money. The loss of income is in part compensated by short-term payment from the government’s employment authority.

My working hours were reduced to zero so I stayed at home until my employer found a new project in which I could work. That finally happened in Nov 2010 when I was asked to work on a project for Mercedes-Benz Consult Graz. During the 18 months that I was on Kurzarbeit, my wife and I were supported by the money given to us by the German government and the money which my parents transferred into my account from India.


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