Move over, Bratwurst.
Pull off on the shoulder, Mercedes-Benz.
Run along, Adidas.
Germany has just unveiled its greatest idea yet.
German Labor Union IG Metall secured a deal this week to give most of its 2.3 million members the option for more flexible hours and a pay raise. The deal involved more than 700 companies in southwest Germany, and it is expected to cause a ripple effect across German industry. Similar deals are predicted in other sectors and regions soon.
Starting next year, workers at many of Germany’s top engineering firms can choose to work 28 hours a week for up to two years—before returning to their standard 35-hour week. The deal also gives workers the option to work 40 hours a week if they want to earn more money.
Germany’s economy will also benefit since workers will have more to spend. Florian Hense, an economist at Berenberg bank, said, “This is good for workers. They [will] see their pay rise by far more than inflation. This raises their disposable income and spending power.”
German workers fought hard to achieve the optimal work-life balance, and hopefully Germany’s example will be repeated in other areas.
“This sets the standard for everyone else,” said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management.
I don’t speak German—but with less work and more pay for workers, they are sure speaking my language!