Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kurzarbeit Macht Freizeit

From this morning's Globe and Mail:
While other countries were bailing out major companies by purchasing their shares and debt or taking ownership stakes, the German government took a different tack this year, bailing out payrolls instead...
Jakob Widner gives details of an Austrian version of the scheme:
The model for this procedure is known as Kurzarbeit, which literally translates as 'short work'. According to the model, employees accept a reduction in working hours of between 10% and 90%. The allowance paid by the employer is a (staggered) flat rate depending on the income level of the employees affected. A supplement of 15% to this flat rate is payable if the employee agrees to attend professional training courses during the period of Kurzarbeit.
Here is another report. And another:
In the Czech Republic, and throughout Europe, companies, employees and even governments have absorbed much of the shock of the recession through schemes like short-time working or irregular hours, unpaid leave, training leave or by using production workers in other positions. Just last week, The Prague Post reported on another government proposal to create a four-day work week, with government subsides to help make up some of the lost salaries from that fifth day.


Anonymous said...

I find the blog O.K., but the title appalling and absolutely tasteless. ( I am German.)

Sandwichman said...


Yeah, I know what you mean. The reason I went ahead with it, though, is that the phrase has its twisted sense in context as a quotation from the gates of Auschwitz. In the larger context of the German philosophical debate about the work ethic (Joy in Work, German Work), it becomes clear that the cynical Nazi appropriation of the phrase is the abomination. So the question arises, must we permanently concede "ownership through desecration" of the expression or can we "refunction" the language, albeit now with dark undertones?