Part-time work was already becoming increasingly common in Germany over time, but became even more so during the Great Recession.
As of 2012, about 1 in 4 German workers were on part-time schedules.
Germany has had work-sharing programs in place for decades, but made a special push amid the global economic crisis to persuade more employers to reduce hours, as an alternative to laying off workers. As part of the policy, known as Kurzarbeit in German, the government partially reimburses workers for their lost wages.
Work sharing is partly credited with saving jobs and lowering the country's unemployment rate. Germany's unemployment was recently around 5%, whereas it remains above 7% in the United States.