Last week on the 16.09.2020 the Federal Cabinet adopted a package of measures on employment protection as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic (Employment Protection Act) together with drafts to amend ordinances on short-time compensation and the duration of short-time work compensation. With this package of measures, the federal government wants to create the prerequisites for a stable labor market in 2021.
Thinking also about the time after the pandemic the government is creating incentives to make use of the period of short-time work and invest in further training. In this way, short-time work shall not only become a bridge over a deep economic valley, but also a way into the future.
The Employment Protection Act is now being dealt with in parliamentary proceedings. It is to come into force together with the two ordinances on January 1, 2021.
The package of measures comprises the following components:
Law on job security as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The regulation to increase the short-time working allowance (to 70%/77 % of the net losses from the fourth month and 80%/87 % from the seventh month is extended until December 31, 2021, for all employees whose entitlement to short-time working allowance has arisen by March 31, 2021. The calculation of the net losses, to determine the short-time compensation is still based on planned remuneration, capped at the level of the current contribution assessment ceiling.
The existing fixed-term additional income regulations will be extended until December 31, 2021, to the extent that remuneration from marginal employment taken up during short-time work remains credit-free.
In addition, the incentive to use periods of absence from work for further vocational training is further strengthened by the fact that half of the reimbursement of social security contributions regulated for these cases is no longer tied to the fact that the qualification must be at least 50 % of the period of absence from work.
First ordinance amending the short-time compensation ordinance
The access facilities (minimum requirements, negative working time balances) will be extended until December 31, 2021 for companies that have started short-time working until March 31, 2021.
The opening of the short-time compensation for temporary workers is extended until December 31, 2021 for rental companies that have started short-time working until March 31, 2021.
The full reimbursement of social security contributions during short-time working is extended until June 30, 2021. From July 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, 50% of social security contributions will be reimbursed if short-time working has begun by June 30, 2021.
Second Ordinance on the Period of Payment of Short-Time Work Benefits
The period for which short-time compensation is paid will be extended to up to 24 months for companies that have begun short-time working by December 31, 2020, but no longer than December 31, 2021.
21 September 2020 by Claudine Gemeiner