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Over 75% of German employees will receive a special bonus to offset inflation

Work in GermanySpecial bonus in Germany. More than 75 percent of all employees covered by collective agreements in Germany are entitled to receive a special bonus to offset inflation. The average amount of this bonus is EUR 2,761. However, there are often significant variations in the bonus amounts across different industries.

Special bonus in Germany

The overwhelming majority of workers under collective agreements in Germany have either received or will receive special pay from their employers to alleviate the impact of high inflation. According to the Federal Statistical Office – Destatis, more than 75 percent of all employees covered by collective labor agreements will receive or have already received the inflation bonus between October 2022 and December 2024.
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The bonus is a one-off payment of up to EUR 3,000, which can be disbursed to employees either in full or in installments, depending on the terms outlined in the collective agreement. Importantly, the special payment introduced by the federal government is taxfree. According to experts from Destatis, the average amount per person currently stands at EUR 2,761.

Fewer and fewer employees are covered by collective agreements

Inflation premium data shows that employees in companies with collective agreements are more likely to receive a special supplement to their basic salary – just like holiday and Christmas bonuses,” stated Malte Lübker, a remuneration expert at the Institute of Economic and Social Sciences (WSI) of the Hans Böckler trade union foundation.

Roughly half of employees in Germany are currently employed by companies that are subject to a regional or company collective agreement. However, available data does not provide clear insight into how many other employers offer this bonus.
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Large difference on the amount of the special bonus depending on the industry

There are distinct variations across sectors regarding which workers receive a bonus. The lowest average bonuses were paid in the construction sector, with an average of EUR 1,104, and in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, where the average bonus stood at EUR 1,689.

The highest bonuses were received by employees in the public administration, defense, and social security sector (EUR 3,000), followed by those in education (EUR 2,999), arts, entertainment, and recreation (EUR 2,987), and water supply, sewage disposal, and garbage collection (EUR 2,943).

Approximately 96% of workers in the manufacturing and water, sewage, and waste sectors receive an inflation bonus. However, the percentage of workers who received the inflation premium is significantly lower in the hotel and catering industry (6.3%), in the other economic services sector (11.2%), and in trade (24.4%).
Read also: Tax-free inflation bonus: Up to 3,000 euros for German employees

Loss of purchasing power despite rising wages

Data that has already been published indicates that the third aid package contributed to an increase in collectively agreed wages, including special subsidies, by an average of 3.7% compared to the previous year.

This marked the largest increase since the statistics were introduced in 2010. However, this rise was counterbalanced by the average annual inflation rate of 5.9%. Despite substantial wage increases, 2023 marked the third consecutive year of significant decline in purchasing power for workers covered by collective agreements, as reported by Tagesschau.