Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure AT-2020-10/229 – Updated – measures in Austria
|Country||Austria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 March 2020 – 31 December 2022|
Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
|Author||Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||31 March 2020 (updated 06 June 2022)|
|Related ERM support instrument|
Short-time work enables working hours to be reduced within a company during temporary economic difficulties. Short-time work has been a well established crisis measure for a long time and was last used to a great extent during the 2008/09 financial crisis, alleviating the economic downturn to quite some extent. See for example a Eurofound report from 2010 .
A short-time work scheme applies if a company temporarily reduces the working time. In order to prevent dismissals and to protect businesses and employees from negative economic and social impacts of COVID-19, social partners (Chamber of Labour, Trade Unions, Economic Chamber) negotiated the current scheme.
Working hours of employees can be reduced up to zero hours keeping full / almost full pay. The employer only pays for the actual working time.
Reduced working hours: The reduced standard working hours must be on average between 10% and 90% of the collectively agreed working hours (this applies to (pre-short-time work) full-time workers, an aliquot reduction applies to employees who were on part-time before short-time work). A new aspect of this is that it may temporarily also be set at zero. Thus, for instance, in the context of a short-time working period of six weeks, it may be set at 0% for five weeks (i.e. no work will take place, and for one week at 60%). Another important point to note is that, in some business sectors, the agreement on short-time work may also include overtime.
For persons with a disability (registered disabled persons according to the Act on the Employment of People with Disabilities (BEinstG), a special job security subsidy applies when making use of the PES' short-time work model. The employers are reimbursed for the remaining wage costs after deduction of the PES short-time work subsidy for the duration of the short-time work. Prerequisites are an application for short-time work (even retroactive) by 30 June 2020 and the existence of a degree of disability of at least 50% (notice of assessment), as well as no existing wage subsidies for the disabled person concerned.
As of 14 April 2020, short-time work applications have been made for the jobs of 608,607 people, in mid-May, over 1.3 million people were on short-time work.
The funds have been increased several times, from originally €3 billion to currently (mid-June) €12 billion in mid-May.
The Federal Ministry for Labour, Family and Youth maintains a regularly updated webpage on labour market statistics , which keeps track of the number of people currently in short-time work. Peak numbers were reached during three weeks in May, during which time more than 1.3 million people were on short-time work. Numbers remained above 400,000 during the summer months and declined to 290,696 on 28 September 2020.
On 6 October 2020, according to a newspaper article by 'DiePresse', the financial police had carried out inspections in 13,829 companies for a total of 6,145 hours, primarily to check compliance with the short-time working rules. In sum, there were much fewer violations than initially feared, but an increase of other violations.
On 21 December 2020, 400,479 persons were on short-time work, in January 2021 around 470,000 persons were registered for short-time work and in February 2021 around 496,000 (according to official AMS data).
In 2021, the number of persons on short-time work have decreased. Latest data from 5 October 2021 show that 67,773 persons are currently registered for short-time work. This includes anticipated delivery bottlenecks in the automotive supplier industry.
By mid-September 2021, 296,075 applications for short-time work have been approved (including extensions). These include 118,206 companies and 1,289,042 employees and a funding volume of €10.3 billion. Thus far (mid-September), €9.3 billion have been paid.
According to a report by the labour minister to the parliamentary committee of social affairs, the government expenditure for short-time work amounted to €9.56 billion from March 2020 to the end of March 2022. Including outstanding obligations, the budget would amount to about €11.31 billion.
Employees in standard employment
||Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners jointly
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative|
|Form||Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies||Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The measure is based on a social partner agreement.
The social partners are supportive of the measure.
Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 short-time work scheme, measure AT-2020-10/229 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2020-10_229.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.