End of COVID-19 Short-Time Work

The special regulations for short-time work implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic are scheduled to expire in the autumn, as announced by the social committee. This decision marks the end of corona short-time work, with all corresponding provisions coming to a halt by the end of September. The proposed amendment to the Labor Market Service Act, presented by the turquoise-green coalition, successfully passed with the support of the ÖVP, SPÖ, FPÖ, and Greens.

The amendment primarily focuses on facilitating the transition back to the pre-pandemic short-time work model. It extends the availability of varying levels of financial assistance until September 2023. Once this period concludes, the original model will be reinstated.

Notably, a permanent adjustment will be implemented concerning the short-time work allowance for companies. Commencing in October 2023, the allowance will now increase from the fourth month, as opposed to the previous fifth month, covering the employer’s heightened expenses for social security contributions.

The decision not to terminate short-time work at the end of June, unlike other COVID-19-related special regulations, has drawn criticism from the NEOS party. Labor Minister Martin Kocher, representing the ÖVP, justified the extension until the end of September by highlighting the necessary changes to the AMS IT system, which are scheduled for implementation in the autumn.

Furthermore, he emphasized that the current regulations for short-time work already surpass the pre-pandemic standards, thereby rendering it inappropriate to continue labeling it as “corona short-time work.” Presently, only approximately 1,800 individuals in Austria have pre-registered for short-time work.

The expiration of the special regulations for short-time work indicates a return to the pre-pandemic framework. The amendment seeks to facilitate a smooth transition while ensuring ongoing support for businesses. By extending the availability of various levels of aid until 2023, it acknowledges that certain industries may still require assistance during their recovery process.

It is worth noting that the number of people currently pre-registered for short-time work in Austria is relatively low, with only around 1,800 individuals seeking this assistance. This figure reflects the gradual recovery and stabilization of the job market as businesses adapt to the changing circumstances.

As the end of the COVID-19 short-time work approaches, companies and employees will need to adjust to the return of the pre-pandemic model. The transition period until September 2023 allows for a gradual shift while ensuring that businesses can still access financial assistance. This phased approach recognizes that certain sectors may continue to face challenges and require support beyond the immediate aftermath of the crisis.