In essence, the regulation then follows the pre-Corona regulations. However, the ÖGB continues to target the replacement rate of up to 90 percent of net income, which is common during the pandemic. A corresponding model agreement between the social partners is still being finalized, the trade union federation told the APA.
In the Covid short-time working model, employees were reimbursed 80 to 90 percent of their net wages. A distinction must be made between the cost reimbursement of the employment service (AMS), the support from the companies and additional additional payments from the employers. The latter are the subject of agreements between the social partners. According to the model agreement, the replacement rate should continue to be around 90 percent net in the future, according to the ÖGB. The Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) told the APA that the model agreements should be published next week.
Will be handled strictly in the future
As before the pandemic, the use of short-time work should be handled strictly in the future. Since last year, the measure has been gradually brought closer to its original purpose, a support instrument for special individual crisis cases, said Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) in a statement to the APA. Short-time work has now been “largely adapted to the pre-pandemic model,” said the politician, who sees the “pandemic-related crisis mode on the labor market as having been overcome.” The final regulation would have expired at the end of September.
Similarly, ÖGB President Wolfgang Katzian: “We are glad that short-time work is no longer needed to the extent that it was during the Corona pandemic and stand by the fact that it has its original purpose – as a labor market policy measure for individual companies in an exceptional economic situation – is returned.” It is important to the unions that employees are financially secure. “If you receive 90 percent of your last net income in short-time work, this is necessary and right, especially in times of record inflation.”
The social partners disagree as to whether the new short-time work regime can prevent mass unemployment should another crisis occur. While the Chamber of Commerce considers its design to be suitable for this, the ÖGB believes that it should be quickly examined whether the instrument needs to be adapted. The consensus is that if the crisis occurs again, financial resources would have to be increased.
According to the Ministry of Labor, a low three-digit number of employees across Austria are currently pre-registered for short-time work. According to the labor market service, 13 short-time work projects were still running at 11 companies nationwide by the end of August. At the height of the Corona crisis, over a million employees were on short-time work. The areas of catering, hotels, specialist retailers and body-related professions were particularly affected. The public sector has spent over 10 billion euros on Corona short-time work since March 2020.