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Travel restrictions and lockdown: Much fewer jobs, more money for the unemployed |  Tyrolean daily newspaper online

7500 fewer unemployed than in the previous week in Austria | Tyrolean daily newspaper online

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© TT / Thomas Boehm

Vienna – Unemployment has decreased by 7500 people compared to the previous week, around 450,000 people are unemployed today and 70,000 people are in training courses, compared with the week by 1500 people more. In addition, 465,400 people are on short-time work, compared to 450,000 in the previous week. The slump in economic activity continued: In the week from February 1st to 7th, weekly GDP was 13.1 percent below the previous year’s figure, according to Wifo calculations.

📽️ Video | 7500 fewer unemployed than in the previous week

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel (ÖVP) said at today’s press conference in the Federal Chancellery that he hoped for better GDP data next week. “We hope that the opening steps will lead to an improvement in private consumption.” The framework for aid has been increased, the corresponding guidelines have already been notified again to the EU Commission and apply immediately. The previous upper limit for direct grants of EUR 800,000 has been raised to EUR 1.8 million per company. The upper limit of three million to 10 million euros will be raised for the compensation of losses.

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As of now, three further corona aid for companies can be applied for: The cancellation bonus also benefits those companies that were not directly or indirectly affected by the Covid measures, but still had a high loss of sales, according to the Finance Minister. Up to 30 percent of sales can be applied for as a replacement installment; one billion euros is earmarked for this help. The period runs from November 2020 to June 2021. Furthermore, the long-awaited help for companies indirectly affected by the corona lockdown, which have at least 50 percent sales related to a closed company. 800 million euros are earmarked for this. Companies indirectly affected (including food wholesalers, caterers, textile cleaners, shop and stand builders, lighting and shuttering technicians, photographers) have been waiting for help for months.

There is also new help for the farmers, from now on a loss replacement for the first branches of the indirectly affected farms in agriculture (pig and wine farms) can be applied for online. “A total of up to 60 million euros will be made available for this measure. It is a non-repayable grant,” said Agriculture Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) in a broadcast.

The home office law was sent for review yesterday, said Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) at the press conference on Tuesday. After a short period of review, the parliamentary process is expected to last until April, and relevant parts of the legislative package should come into force at the beginning of April. For the third week in a row, Kocher sees a “slight but noticeable relaxation” on the labor market, this week driven by seasonal improvements and opening steps. “The situation on the job market is of course still challenging,” said Kocher. In the case of short-time work, the numbers are higher than in the previous week, but there are registrations for short-time work, where you do not know how many are actually used. “In my opinion, further relaxation in the labor market in the next few weeks is possible if we can sustainably defend the opening steps that have been made,” said the labor minister.

The extension of short-time working is still being negotiated

The extension of the Corona short-time work beyond March could be fixed this week. “We are in the last legs of the talks with the social partners and the relevant ministries,” said the Minister of Labor. You are “99 percent ready” and will probably be able to present a solution in the next few days. Kocher did not want to reveal any details about the planned extension of short-time working.

Economics Minister Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP) appealed to companies to take advantage of the recently introduced cost reimbursement for in-house corona tests. The companies receive 10 euros for each test carried out. So far, according to Schramböck, over 830 companies in Austria with over 380,000 employees have registered for operational testing. “Our comprehensive test offensive is the most effective means in this phase of the pandemic and will act as a wall against the virus,” said the Minister of Economic Affairs.

The NEOS are pushing for a long-term plan with the planned extension of the Corona short-time work. “There is still a lack of a model for the gradual exit from short-time working in parallel to the reversal of the lockdown,” said NEOS social spokesman Gerald Loacker. There is a risk that 30 percent work with 80 percent wages on short-time work is more attractive for some in the long run than earning 100 percent for 100 percent work. “This removes important skilled workers from the job market,” warned Loacker.

Chamber of Commerce welcomes Corona aid

State Secretary for Art and Culture Andrea Mayer (Greens) welcomed the Corona aid, which should also be of use to those indirectly affected in the field of culture. “From film distribution to artist agencies, from set designers to singers – every company and, above all, every one-person company that has corresponding sales connections with the companies directly affected will benefit from this measure.” Even those who work for organizers via an intermediate station, such as an agency, receive a sales compensation.

The Chamber of Commerce also welcomes the Corona aid, it would secure liquidity and get jobs. By raising the funding cap by the EU Commission, the Ministry of Finance was able to ensure that state support for the companies can flow in an appropriate amount, praises WKÖ President Harald Mahrer. Affected companies can now choose from many support measures, which could also be combined. The Chamber of Commerce has developed an online contact point and an online guide, which are available at wko.at/corona-unterstuUNGEN.

Criticism comes from the Austrian Hoteliers Association (ÖHV). The extension of the lockdown is “again a stab in the heart” for many companies, according to ÖHV general secretary Markus Gratzer. The companies need a perspective for opening up and financing. According to Gratzer, 90 percent of the hotels surveyed in Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg are entitled to compensation under the Epidemic Act. Only 7 percent received a payout eleven months after the start of the nationwide lockdown. (APA)

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