EPSU affiliate ver.di has just negotiated a brand new collective agreement that covers around 70000 workers in eldercare for the first time. The agreement sets a number of minimum standards in including minimum pay rates that will mean many workers will benefit from a 25% increase in pay over the next two and a half years.
Sylvia Bühler, head of health and social affairs for ver.di said: “Eldercare workers are desperately needed everywhere; this can only be achieved and maintained with good working conditions. A nationwide collective agreement with legally binding minimum conditions ensures minimum wages and ultimately protects employers from harmful competition."
Gero Kettler, BVAP spokesman, said the agreement was a “positive signal for the entire sector…and shows that employers take responsibility for better working conditions in care.”
There will be minimum pay rates for nursing assistants, those with one year’s training and qualified nurses beginning at EUR 12.30, EUR 13.10 and EUR 16.10 an hour respectively from 1 August 2021. This will then rise in three further stages on 1 January 2022, 1 January 2023 and 1 June 2023 to reach EUR 14.40, EUR 15.25 and EUR 18.75. On the basis of a 39-hour week this will mean minimum monthly salaries of EUR 2440, EUR 2585 and EUR 3180 from June 2023.
The agreement also provides for EUR 500 in additional holiday pay and 28 days of annual paid leave. Ver.di and the BVAP see this as an important step to making the sector more attractive and dealing with the longstanding staffing shortages which have been even more sharply apparent as a result of the pandemic.
The BVAP covers non-profit providers and was established in 2019 when discussions over a collective agreement first began. A special agreement on a EUR 1500 “Corona bonus” was negotiated in April 2020.
Ver.di and the BVAP hope that the agreement will also be made generally binding across the sector, something that they agreed from the start would important to ensure that pay was not undercut by employers who are not signatory to the agreement. This decision will be taken by the federal labour ministry and will depend on the views of the other employer organisations in the sector. The BVAP and ver.di are hopeful that Caritas and Diakonie – two of the main non-profit employers in the sector – will support the move but opposition is likely from commercial providers.
The agreement sets minimum conditions and so existing agreements that provide better conditions won’t be affected.