According to the IAB institute, the economic crisis would already have much more seriously affected the labour market without flexible work time and short-work. Thus, work overtime accounts have already been reduced by on average 6 hours in the wake of the crisis. Furthermore, the number of people working short has increased significantly in the first months of this year and amounted to 950,000 people on average per month in the first quarter. Working short people worked on average one third less than usually. Dividing this time among all employees in Germany, each employee worked 3.5 hours less in the first quarter.

In total, each gainfully employed person worked 354.8 hours in the first quarter 2009, which was 11.2 hours or 3.1% less than in the first quarter last year. The reduction in the overall volume of hours worked amounted to 2.9% given that the number of employees slightly increased by 0.1% as compared to the first quarter last year.

Given that overall productivity in Germany fell by 3.8% in the first quarter this year, productivity per working hour fell for the third time in a row (-3.9%). In previous quarters, however, drops in productivity per working hour had been much smaller (-0.3 and -1.3 % respectively).

Weekly working time of people working full-time fell by on average 0.5 hours and amounted to 37.8 hours per week in the first quarter of 2009. On a per capita basis, employees worked 8.4 paid hours of overtime in the first quarter this year which was the smallest volume ever.

People took on average 5.4 days off which was approximately the same amount as in the previous year. The percentage of employees being off sick amounted to 3.4 % following 3.6 % last year.