Report examines collectively agreed holidays and holiday bonuses in 1997

In 1997, significant differences persist in collectively agreed holiday bonuses between various sectors, as well as between western and eastern Germany, according to recent research by the Institute for Economics and Social Science

According to a recent study of 1997 provisions by the Institute for Economics and Social Science (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI), most employees in Germany receive a collectively agreed holiday bonus, though there are significant sectoral differences in the amount of the bonus. While most employees are due 30 days' paid leave per year, the average annual holiday bonus for a blue collar worker in a middle-range income group ranges between DEM 200 and DEM 2,587.

In western Germany, the highest holiday bonuses have been agreed in the printing industry (DEM 2,587), wood processing (DEM 2,527) and the automobile trade (DEM 2,230). Branches with a rather low holiday bonus are mining (DEM 300), agriculture (DEM 360) and public services (DEM 650). In the iron and steel industry and in banking there is no collectively agreed holiday bonus.

In comparison, holiday bonuses in many east German sectors are still lower than in the west. Only the employees in chemicals, metalworking, paper processing, printing and railway services so far receive the same holiday bonus as their western colleagues. In some sectors, like the automobile trade or textiles, the east German employees get less than half of the west German holiday bonus or even receive no holiday payments at all (as in the shoe industry or clothing). In other east German sectors even the number of collectively agreed holidays per year is still below the level of the west.

Collectively agreed holidays and holiday bonus in Germany, 1997
Branch-level collective agreement Number of holidays Average holiday bonus for an employee in a middle-range income group
Western Germany Eastern Germany Western Germany** Eastern Germany**
Agriculture 22-25* 20-30 DEM 360* DEM 540
Mining 30 30 DEM 300 DEM 731
Iron and steel 30 30 - -
Chemicals 30 30 DEM 1,200 DEM 1,200
Metalworking 30 30 DEM 2,059* DEM 2,060*
Automobile trade 30 27 DEM 2,230* DEM 945*
Wood processing 30 27 DEM 2,527* DEM 1,757
Paper processing 30 30 DEM 2,176* DEM 2,158*
Printing 30 30 DEM 2,587* DEM 2,587*
Shoes 28-30 28-30 DEM 1,126* -
Textiles 30 28 DEM 765.50* DEM 200
Clothing 30 30 DEM 684.50* -
Sweets and candies 30 25-28 DEM 780 DEM 504
Construction 30 30 DEM 1,356* DEM 1.272*
Retail trade 25-30 25-30 DEM 1,778 DEM 1,458
Railway service 26-30 26-30 DEM 800 DEM 800
Banking 30 30 - -
Insurance 30 30 DEM 1,916 DEM 1,801
Hotels and restaurants 23-30 23-30 DEM 690 DEM 480
Cleaning trade 30 27 DEM 900* DEM 648*
Public services 26-30 26-30 DEM 650* DEM 500

* Blue-collar workers only

** Regional differences are possible

Source: WSI Collective Agreement Archive 1997

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