On the employers' side, the capacity to conclude collective agreements is not confined to employers' associations , trade associations or an umbrella organization. A collective agreement may also be concluded by an individual employer (Collective Agreements Act § 2(1)). Alternative terms used for such company agreements are "Haustarifvertrag" and "Werkstarifvertrag".

Despite being a member of an employers' association, an employer is technically entitled to conclude such an agreement. The question of whether or not employers are permitted to do so under the terms of their membership of an association and its internal rules has no bearing on the validity of the agreement. Provided there is no peace obligation arising from an association-level agreement , the unions may use industrial action to compel such employers to conclude a company agreement.

The conclusion of separate company agreements with individual employers is particularly desirable in cases where the general conditions agreed collectively with an association are not appropriate for them ( establishment-specific bargaining ). In 1989 there were approximately 8,000 company agreements in force, covering some 500,000 employees.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.