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Database of national-level policy measures

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-2020-16/737 – measures in Austria

Hardship fund for SMEs - Upper Austria

Härtefonds des Land Oberösterreich für Kleinbetriebe

Country Austria , applies regionally

    • – AT31 Oberösterreich
Time period Temporary, 16 April 2020 – 30 September 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial) or damage compensation
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 20 April 2020 (updated 10 July 2020)

Background information

As a reaction to the closure of businesses and decline in revenues, the Austrian government together with the social partners have set up a nationwide hardship fund, with the aim to support small and medium sized enterprises (see EU Policy Watch - Hardship case fund ).

As the eligibility criteria in the first phase were rather strict, many companies did not obtain immediate support. This is an additional regional support initiative, funded by the Upper Austrian regional government. Upper Austrian small businesses that are unable to receive support from the federal government's Hardship Case Fund or the Corona Aid Fund (i.e. not meeting the federal criteria) are supported by the state of Upper Austria with direct grants.

The Upper Austria Hardship Fund is processed within the framework of the general funding guidelines of the State of Upper Austria, the grants are granted as de minimis aid in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1407/2013 of December 18, 2013.

Content of measure

Eligible are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs in the sense of the EU definition; with less than 50 employees and an annual turnover or an annual balance sheet of less than 10 million euros), who are a member of the Upper Austrian Economic Chamber and have their company or branch location in Upper Austria.

Regional state support is provided in the form of non-repayable grants (de minimis grants). The funding is based on the amount of the fixed costs for a maximum of three months (period 16 March to 15 June 2020) and covers 25% of fixed costs, at a maximum of €25,000.

Fixed costs include: business rent, insurance premiums, interest expenses, operational, contractual payment obligations, license costs, payments for electricity, gas, and telecommunications.


  • Sales decline of at least 25%
  • The company wasn't already in distress before the COVID-19 measures
  • Due to federal criteria, the applicant was unable to avail himself of funds from the Federal Government's Hardship Fund or Corona Aid Fund.

Use of measure

Not yet known.

Target groups

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

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Local / regional government
Regional funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


Social partner involvement is unknown.

Views and reactions

No information available.



Eurofound (2020), Hardship fund for SMEs - Upper Austria, measure AT-2020-16/737 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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