Short-time Working

Corona-short-time working: Procedure and model agreements

We are pleased to share an update regarding the application procedure for short-time work as a result of the Corona Virus situation:

  • Contact the responsible office of the AMS (by telephone or via eAMS account or e-mail)
  • Contact the responsible regional chamber of commerce to prepare and draft the recommended enterprise Corona short time work agreement
  • Written application to the AMS together with the signed Corona short time work agreement
  • Opinion on economic necessity (e.g. corona and follow-up)

The request can be made retroactively for periods from 1 March 2020.

IN THIS ARTICLE



Employers entitled to short-time work

All employers including private associations (including non-profit associations) are eligible. Excluded are:

  • Federal, state, local and municipal associations,
  • Political parties and
  • Other legal entities under public law.

 

Employees entitled to short-time work

All employees are eligible. Exception: marginally employed persons (geringfügig Beschäftigte). According to the information in the new application form, short-time work cannot be agreed for marginally employed persons.

  • Business executives: Members of the management are also eligible if they are insured under ASVG. However, they can also be excluded from short-time work in accordance with the model social partner agreement. This means that employed managing directors or managing directors who do not have a significant share in the company are also eligible.
  • Apprentices: Apprentices can be covered by short-time work in accordance with COVID 19 guidelines.

 

Vacation and time credit

Consumption of old vacation / time credit

The new directive stipulates that not consumed holidays or existing time credits should be reduced as far as possible before short-time work is introduced. However, old holidays or existing time credits should be used during short-time working, if expressively required by the employer.

In general, the consumption of holidays or time credits cannot be ordered unilaterally, so the employer must make a serious effort, but not demonstrate any success. Therefore, if no agreement is reached between the employer and the works council/individual employees, this does not harm the employer in terms of receiving the short-time work allowance.

It is recommended that the concrete efforts/negotiations be well documented for verification purposes.

 

Leave during short-time working

Remuneration for vacation time corresponds to that before the start of short-time work. This means that there is no reduced hours allowance for leave and time off. Such times are not taken into account when determining the lost hours, that is, no fictitious lost hours are added.

Please note: The time of leave or time compensation must be taken into account when determining the average employment level during reduced working hours with the employment level before the start of reduced working hours.

 

NEW: Quarantine during short-time work

Officially ordered quarantine

The isolation in quarantine of sick, suspected or infectious persons is a precautionary measure according to the Epidemics Act.

1. Isolation of sick people

The officially ordered isolation of persons suspected of being ill or of being infected counts as another reason for prevention of employment under labour law.

The officially ordered isolation of persons suspected of being ill or infected during short-time work therefore falls within the obligation to continue to pay remuneration under the EFZG and provides for a claim for compensation by the employer under § 32 (3) of the Epidemics Act.

This means that as soon as an employee employed on short-time work has to go into self-isolation due to measures ordered by the authorities (as a person suspected of being ill or infected), he or she is entitled to full continued remuneration for this period. The employer may take recourse to the competent district administrative authority within six weeks of the discontinuation of the measure.

Therefore, no short-time working allowance is due for this period of absence.

Please note: To assert your claim, an application must be submitted to the district administrative authority within a period of six weeks.

This period begins on the day on which the official measures in whose area the action was taken are lifted.

You can find out the competence of your district administrative authority here: help.gv.at

 

2. Traffic Restrictions

According to § 24 of the Epidemic Law, the district administrative authority can issue traffic restrictions if it is necessary due to the type and extent of the occurrence of a notifiable disease (e.g. COVID-19) to protect against its further spread in the epidemic areas. Furthermore, restrictions may also be imposed on traffic with the inhabitants of such areas from outside.

In these cases, the employee's claim for continued remuneration is based on the EFZG and the employer's claim for compensation is based on § 32 (3) of the Epidemic Law (assertion at the competent district administrative authority, see above).

Therefore, no short-time working allowance is due for these periods of absence.

 

3. COVID-19 disease

Only when it is actually established that a COVID-19 disease is present (with sick leave) is there also a sick leave. The employee is then entitled to full continued remuneration according to EFZG for the sick leave.

It is still possible to receive short-time work assistance - the employer is still entitled to short-time work assistance for this period to the extent of the originally planned lost working hours for this period.

 

Voluntary quarantine

If an employee voluntarily goes into quarantine or wishes to go into quarantine without at least the suspicion of an infection, this does not justify a claim for continued payment of the remuneration. In this case, it is advisable to agree in advance with the employee on the reduction of vacation or time credits. In any case, the employee may not be absent from work or refuse to work without such an agreement if he/she fears infection.

 

NEW: Continued payment of fees in the event of plant closures

If a firm may no longer be entered due to an officially ordered prohibition to enter, it was unclear until the end how to deal with such measures due to the non-application of the Epidemic Law. In addition to the COVID-19 Measure Act, § 1155 ABGB now provides that measures based on the COVID-19 Measure Act, which lead to a ban or restrictions on entering companies, are also considered circumstances within the meaning of § 1155 ABGB and are to be attributed to the employer sphere. Thus, in these cases, the employer is in principle also obliged to continue to pay remuneration.

However, employees who are affected by such measures and are therefore unable to continue to perform their work are now obliged, at the employer's request, to use up holiday and time credits during this period, to the following extent:

Holiday entitlements from the current holiday year need only be used up to two weeks.
Time credits based on the conversion of monetary claims regulated by collective sources of law do not have to be used up.
In total, no more than eight weeks of holiday and time credits need to be used up.

For periods of continued remuneration under Section 1155 of the Austrian Civil Code (ABGB), short-time work support to the extent of the originally planned lost working hours continues to be available for this period.

 

NEW: Release or home office for risk groups

The Federal Government is currently planning to provide more extensive protection for persons who are particularly at risk, e.g. due to pre-existing illnesses, including the possibility of taking time off work. Employers are to be compensated for the resulting wage costs. A concrete definition of the group of persons as well as the exact legal basis are still open. Details will follow.

 

Assumption of employer's social security contributions from the 1st month

The employer's social security contributions are based on the (higher) employee's remuneration before the start of short-time work.

The AMS now pays the higher employer's social security contributions from the 1st month of short-time work, instead of from the 4th month, as was previously the case.

 

Area of validity for short-time work

The recommended short time work agreement (Sozialpartnervereinbarung) has to specify whether the entire company, branch (sites or locations) or only organisationally separate parts of an enterprise are to be covered by short-time working. This is important for determining the number of active employment agreements at the beginning of the short time-work period.

The Sozialpartnervereinbarung now provides that the reduction of working hours can be determined differently for different groups of employees. It is also possible to exclude particular group of employees. Any reduction or subsequent change of agreed working hours have to be agreed with the individual employees concerned, it may be necessary to inform the involved parties of such changes (Gewerkschaft, Wirtschaftskammer).

 

 

Short-time work agreement (for companies with Works Council)

PLEASE NOTE: The recommended short-time work agreement template “Sozialpartnervereinbarung Betriebsvereinbarung" is provided in their current version (as of 27.03.2020). The current -> AMS application form can be downloaded. According to the AMS, only new forms will be accepted. According to AMS, an application for cost reimbursement is possible with retroactive effect.

The employer in principle has to conclude the short-time agreement with the Works Council on the duration and extent of short-time work (i.e. how many hours per week are to be reduced).

The agreement is initially possible for a maximum of 3 months. As things stand at present, an extension for a further three months is possible.

Template Works agreement (for companies with Works Council) Status: 27.3.2020

Short-time work agreement (for companies without Works Council)

PLEASE NOTE: The recommended short-time work agreement template "Sozialpartnervereinbarung Einzelvereinbarung" is provided in their current version (as of 27.03.2020). The current -> AMS application form can be downloaded. According to the AMS, only new forms will be accepted. According to AMS, an application for cost reimbursement is possible with retroactive effect.

In companies without a Works Council, the short-time work agreement template at enterprise level/branch level must be accepted by each participating employee and be concluded for the duration and extent of short-time work (i.e.: how many hours per week are reduced). The agreement is initially possible for a maximum of 3 months. As things stand at present, an extension for a further three months is possible.

 

 

Template Individual agreement (for companies without Works Council) Status: 27.3.2020

Separate agreement per employee

In addition to the short-time work agreement template at enterprise (without works council), we propose to conclude a separate agreement with each participating employee, which will individually determine when short-time work will begin for the individual employee and to what extent a reduction will take place.

With the enterprise and individual agreement, the employee undertakes, among other things, to reduce existing time credits and holidays from previous years at the request of the employer. For holidays, time credits and sick leave, the employer must pay full remuneration on the basis before part-time work. The employee's individual part-time working phase can only begin after the agreed reduction has been formally completed.

Staggered net replacement rate

In contrast to the previous part-time working arrangements, the Corona short-time working scheme provides for a staggered net salary replacement rate of

  • 80% if the gross remuneration before short-time work exceeds € 2,685.00 (capped up to the maximum social security contribution basis of € 5,370.00 gross)
  • 85% for gross remunerations between € 1.700,00 and € 2.685,00
  • 90% for gross remunerations of up to € 1.700,00

 

Examples of use

The following simplified examples serve to illustrate the calculation methodology for the net salary replacement:

1. An employee receives gross remuneration of € 2,000 (net approx. € 1,500) before part-time work is agreed. The working time is reduced by 50%.

Since the gross remuneration is between € 1,700 and € 2,000, the employee receives € 1,275 net during reduced work-time (equals 85% of the "old" net remuneration). The subsequent adapted gross remuneration will be approximately € 1,585.

As a result the new gross remuneration of € 1,585 will be € 585 more than the 50% working time (50% of gross € 2,000 is € 1,000). The AMS reimburses the employer for these € 585 in additional costs.

 

2. An employee receives gross remuneration of € 2,800 (net approx. €1,908) before part-time work is agreed. The working time is reduced by 90%.

Since the gross remuneration is above € 2,865, the employee receives a net amount of € 1,526 during part-time work (this is 80% of the "old" net remuneration). The subsequent adapted gross remuneration will be approximately € 2,082.

As a result, the new gross remuneration of € 2,082 will be € 1,802 more than the 10% working time (10% of gross € 2,800 is 280). The AMS reimburses the employer for these € 1,802 in additional costs.

 

3. An employee receives gross remuneration of € 1,600 (net approx. € 1,285) before part-time work is agreed. The working time is reduced by 90%.

Since the gross remuneration is less than € 1,700, the employee receives € 1,156 net during part-time work (that is 90% of the "old" net pay). The subsequent adapted gross remuneration will be approximately € 1,397.

As a result, the new gross remuneration of € 1,397 will be € 1,237 more than the 10% working time (10% of € 1,600 gross is € 160). The AMS reimburses the employer for these € 1,273 in additional costs.

A calculation tool for the AMS cost reimbursement can be found at AMS.

calculation tool AMS

 

Checklist

Enclosed you will find a checklist with additional current information per employee and for the company, which we use for calculation and support in the application process as well as for further optimization.

Employees

Social Insurance Number

Normal working hours

Extent of short-time working (% reduction in hours)

Duration of short-time work

Status of credit (overtime) hours as of beginning of short-time work period

Holiday year (calendar/working year)

Holiday from previous years

Vacation status current year

Earliest possible start of short-time work (enterprise/branch level)

Planned holidays during short-time work

Current gross remuneration (13 weeks average)

Individual agreement with each participating employee for work-time reduction

Total number of employees as of beginning of short-time work period

Information on terminations before beginning of short-time work period

Existance of an eAMS account

 

Do you have more questions about short-time work? Our experts Martin Schmidt and Christoph Schmidl will be happy to assist you.