Austria Kurzarbeit Phase 3 (Corona Short-time working)
Until 2 November 2020 at the latest, Corona-Kurzarbeit may be applied for with retroactive effect as of 01/10/2020 until 31/03/2021 at the latest (“Phase 3”). Please note: should Phase 3 of short-time working commence only in November or later, the government does currently not provide for any retroactive application.
The following is a summary of the key points of Corona-Kurzarbeit Phase 3 in Austria:
1. New admissible minimum and maximum working hours
The previous minimum working hours are increased from 10% to 30%.
In special cases, minimum working hours below this limit may be agreed upon with the consent of the representatives of management and labour (social partners). 20% to 70% of the hours lost may be claimed, in other words: The working time ranges between a minimum of 30% and a maximum of 80%.
2. Nettoersatzrate (net compensation rate)
The net compensation rate for employees in the amount of 80/85/90% (without consideration of any individual tax classification) and the retention period (to be observed by employers) of one month after expiry of the period of reduced working hours remain unchanged.
Mandatory remuneration adjustments such as increases under collective bargaining agreements and biennial incremental increases (‘Biennalsprünge’) must be taken into account in Phase 3 of short-time working when determining the guaranteed minimum remuneration. Unfortunately, this will again require additional time and effort in payroll accounting (determination of the new guaranteed remuneration). By all accounts, the AMS (Public Employment Service Austria) will subsidise remuneration increases up to 5% via the short-time work subsidy (not, however, any voluntary salary increases).
3. New standardised procedure to verify financial difficulties
This newly introduced control tool is meant to prevent any abuse during the approval process already. From now on, employers must submit a forecast of the company’s economic development during Phase 3 of short-time working due to the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to mandatory submission of the agreement between the social partners.
The key indicators of the past and the plausibility of certain information provided by the applicant must be verified by external third parties (e.g. tax consultants).
4. New willingness to attend training events in “Phase 3”
Under the new rules, a mandatory willingness to attend further training events is required from employees during idle times due to short-time working. The relevant further training must be agreed with the AMS and may commence at any time; it may be interrupted in accordance with the employer’s demand for labour and made up for within a period of 18 months.
5. Training of apprentices ensured during short-time work
Arrangements were made to ensure the training of apprentices even in businesses that are operated on a short-time work scheme for prolonged periods. However, only a 50% reduction of working hours is possible for apprentices.
The new templates for agreements between management and labour are available on the AMS website: Templates on the AMS Website