“I think this is necessary as long as there is still the risk of large-scale closures,” said Kocher in a press conference. “The hope is, of course, that opening steps are possible, but as long as the danger is there, there must be a safety net through short-time work.”
The net income replacement rate of 80 to 90 percent of the wage for employees remains unchanged in phase 4 of short-time work. Normally, working hours can be reduced to 30 percent – in industries that have to keep closed due to the officially ordered lockdown, a reduction to 0 percent is also possible.
The AUA, which is not officially closed, but is also suffering massively from the pandemic, assumes that it can reduce the work performance of its employees with a social partner agreement as before to below 30 percent. “For the period from October 2020 to March 2021 we have also agreed on such an exception, which makes it possible to reduce the average work performance to at least 10 percent. How things will continue from April will be shown in the negotiations with the unions that are now starting “, said AUA spokeswoman Tanja Gruber on APA request.
Further training will continue to be promoted and should be promoted – companies get 60 percent reimbursed by the AMS if they let their employees qualify during short-time work. “We urge everyone to use that now in the next phase.”
Short-time work in its current form is necessary as long as there are official closings, but it is a model for times of crisis, said Kocher. “That means that after June 2021 we hope that there will be a possible new variant of short-time work, an exit from Corona short-time work.” Short-time work will continue to be needed, but in a new variant, and in the next few weeks we will begin to prepare the new design of short-time work for the period after the crisis and without large-scale closings.
Finance Minister Gernot Blümel (ÖVP) said that around 32 billion euros have been paid out or legally binding for various aid measures. Since yesterday, the cancellation bonus can be requested. “Since yesterday evening, since this cancellation bonus can be applied for, around 3,000 applications have been submitted.” In addition, the aid measures for the indirectly affected companies for November and December can be applied for. So far, around 670 companies have been triggered by the EU’s 800,000 euro cap for direct aid. This upper limit has been increased.
“Overall, short-time work is the largest chunk of the 32 billion,” said Blümel. “To date, a total of 10.6 billion euros has been legally binding and a total of 6.1 billion euros has been paid out.” The Austrian short-time working model is “undoubtedly one of the most generous and best in Europe”.
However, it is important to prevent misuse of subsidies by “black sheep”. “The financial police have so far carried out around 7,000 short-time checks and in over 3,000 cases a control message has also been sent to the AMS.” That alone is not a problem because the short-time work is billed in retrospect – “however, in 250 cases there was an urgent suspicion of misuse of subsidies that had already taken place.”
AK President Renate Anderl also emphasized the importance of controls: “What we do not want is that you make yourself a penny.” Employees should now have the opportunity to use short-time work for qualification. Short-time work costs money, “but if the employees who are now on short-time work were at the AMS, then you have to honestly admit that it would cost even more money.”
The AK President emphasized that short-time working was a burden not only for companies, but also for employees. For example, a waitress who earns 2,100 euros gross would also lose tips of around 500 euros a month. Together with lost overtime, that is a loss of earnings of almost 11,000 euros per year.
For IV President Georg Knill, it is “important and sensible to extend short-time working until the summer”, because this gives companies the necessary planning security. “Of the currently around 460,000 employees on short-time work, around 75,000 are employed in the manufacturing sector,” which is why short-time work is also very important for industry.
Overall, it is “a really, really great package,” said ÖGB President Wolfgang Katzian – even if questions such as overtime or tips are still open. The next three months should be used for discussions about the time thereafter. A still unsolved problem, especially in tourism or for apprentices, is that you have to have a full month of remuneration in order to be able to go on short-time work.
According to WKÖ President Harald Mahrer, the first results of the cautious opening in trade are showing positive effects. “Everyone obeys the rules. There is massive testing, although there have been major concerns as to whether it will be accepted.” Now you need more incentives for testing. “By opening up other areas, I create these incentives because the frequency of going to an inn is higher than going to the hairdresser.”