Proportion of employees: In 2018, the works councils will also be able to negotiate tariff areas in which the collective agreement itself contains an “opening clause” that allows the Works Council to negotiate the subject. In general, companies whose working conditions are not standard and employ a small number of employees prefer to enter into individual employment contracts with their employees. There are two legal mechanisms for extending the outcome of collective agreements to all employers in the same sector beyond the signatory parties, although the rules in this area have changed considerably in recent years, with the initial renewal mechanism almost entirely being replaced. Many wage agreements contain opening clauses that allow company committees, often with the agreement of trade unions, to take into account the particular circumstances of their business. For example, in 2018, comparisons of the metallurgical industry, which employs 3.5 million people, have delayed, reduced or completely eliminated the cash payment due in 2019 in some companies facing serious difficulties. And the 2018 comparison for the chemical industry allowed companies to omit a lump sum payment of 280 euros when they were able to prove that they were facing particular economic difficulties. are seen as an important way to provide flexibility to the system. A well-known example was the Pforzheim contract signed in 2004 by IG Metall, which was later incorporated into a broader collective agreement on job security. This allows the Works Council to agree on reductions in working time and temporary wages in order to avoid redundancies. Government-funded figures from the State-funded Institute for Research on the Labour Market and Professions (IAB) show that in 2018, almost half (46%) Employees in Germany were covered by collective agreements at the sectoral level, with an additional 8% covering enterprise-level agreements, meaning that tariff coverage was 54%. This allowed 46% of workers whose terms were not set by collective bargaining, although the leaders who completed the survey on which the figures are based, said that the conditions of half (51%) uncovered workers were inspired by agreements at the sectoral level. It is also striking that in West Germany, the proportion of conventional workers is 11 percentage points higher than in East Germany (see table).
 A minimum wage commission, made up of representatives of trade unions and employers, which advises external experts, proposes an increase in the rate taking into account the increase in collectively negotiated rates of pay. These proposals are submitted to the government that makes the final decision.