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Volkswagen announces new round of COVID-19 bonuses for employees

Produktion des VW ID4 / ID Crozz am 18.09.2020 bei Volkswagen Sachsen in Zwickau . Credit: Oliver Killig

Volkswagen announced earlier in February that it would pay out another round of “Coronavirus Premium” bouus payments to employees at its German factories “in recognition of their great dedication in recent months working under difficult conditions.” The bonus is worth €500 ($564) and will be paid out to employees at the end of February.

The Coronavirus Premium program was announced by Volkswagen after discussions with the company’s Works Council. The bonus acknowledges every employee’s commitment to the brand as the COVID-19 pandemic made work conditions more difficult on a global scale.

“In recent months, the pandemic greatly tested our employees – whether they were working at our locations or remotely. The flexibility and tireless dedication they have shown is a remarkable performance that we would like to recognize. That is the reason for the new coronavirus premium,” Chief Human Resources Officer Gunnar Kilian said.

Volkswagen still delivered nearly 4.9 million vehicles in 2021 and doubled its electric vehicle delivery count last year. However, it has not been an easy task keeping pace with other companies and consumer demand. Volkswagen halted production in several markets, including Asia and Europe, during the pandemic. All the while, the German car company has been attempting to keep pace with Tesla and others as the race for EV domination continues to heat up. A global pandemic and a complete transition of VW’s automotive playbook undoubtedly threw plenty of wrenches in the system.

“The coronavirus premium represents an important sign of appreciation in difficult times,” General Works Council Chairwoman Daniela Cavallo said. “In the discussions about the premium, the Chairs of the Works Councils at the different locations made it clear that our workforce could always be relied on. At the same time, the strain was immense: industrial production under difficult pandemic conditions, repeated short-time working, loss of shift allowances, the balancing act between working from home while schooling and caring for children – these are just a few examples.”

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Cavallo added that the entire bonus will be paid out to the employees, and will not be taxed. “The €500 will be paid gross for net, which means that employees will receive the full amount. Independent of the coronavirus premium, we are continuing our discussions on the performance-related bonus envisaged by the collective bargaining agreement. It will be difficult to achieve more than the November advance payment but we will of course continue to fight on this important issue.”

The premium is a one-time payment of €500 for the period from July 2021 to February 2022. Apprentices, dual students, and Ph.D. candidates will receive up to €300 “in recognition of the additional strain caused by the pandemic.” As mentioned previously, the bonus will be paid out in February salary and is exempt from tax and social security contributions.

Volkswagen has already paid out one round of the COVID-19 bonus. The German automaker paid out a €1,000 bonus to employees for the period from March 2020 to June 2021.

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Volkswagen announces new round of COVID-19 bonuses for employees
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