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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case AT-2020-14/581 Updated – measures in Austria

Debt moratorium for consumers and microenterprises

Schuldenmoratorium für Verbraucher und Kleinstunternehmen

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 31 January 2021
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Preventing over-indebtedness
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Case created 13 April 2020 (updated 15 October 2020)

Background information

Many bank customers have come under pressure to repay their loans due to income losses caused by the COVID-19 crisis. In order to alleviate their financial burden, a moratorium on loans for consumers and micro enterprises was enacted in the course of the implementation of the 4th COVID-19 Act on 4 April 2020 in Austria. This refers to any loan agreements entered into with banks prior to 15 March 2020. Micro enterprises include entrepreneurs with less than ten employees and whose annual turnover or annual balance does not exceed €2 million.

Content of measure

Article 37, paragraph 2 of the 4th COVID-19 Act provides for rules on deferring the due date of payments in credit agreements concluded before 15 March 2020:

  • The creditor's claims for repayment, interest or amortisation due between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020 is to be deferred for a period of three months from the due date, if
  • the consumer suffers a loss of income as a result of the "exceptional circumstances caused by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic" which makes it unreasonable to expect him or her to provide the service owed, i.e. to pay the originally agreed debt payments.
  • In particular, the consumer cannot reasonably be expected to provide the service if his or her own or his/her dependents’ "reasonable livelihood" is at risk.

For the duration of the deferral, the borrower (consumer or micro entrepreneur) is not in default with the payment of these services. This means that during this period, also, no interest on arrears will accrue. The originally planned term of the loan is extended accordingly by the time of the deferral.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

15 September 2020

The deferment period was once again extended from 31 October 2020 to 31 January 2021.

09 July 2020

The deferment period was extended from 30 June to 31 October 2020.

Use of measure

Unknown.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers One person or microenterprises
Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement as case not in social partner domain No involvement as case not in social partner domain
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

No involvement.

Views and reactions

Not the social partners' genuine field of action.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Debt moratorium for consumers and microenterprises, case AT-2020-14/581 (measures in Austria), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.