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The introduction of short-time working (Kurzarbeit)

The proposed Act on Support for Short-Time Working (Kurzarbeit) has been approved by the government and entered the parliamentary legislative process in March 2021. 

This legislation has been long awaited and widely welcomed by the business and industrial community. It will allow companies to continue to enjoy support for short-time working after the pandemic measures are over. As outlined in the Act’s general explanatory statement, this instrument’s main aim is to subsidize employees' salaries during situations outside the employer’s influence, such as a state of emergency, force majeure etc.

The short-time regime will be activated if the employer is unable to assign work to at least one third of its employees to the agreed extent (i.e. when at least 10% of their prescribed weekly working time cannot be assigned). The overall scope, conditions, and mechanism for providing this support are all to be regulated by the act.

According to Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Milan Krajniak, employers, entrepreneurs, sole traders and their employees, or suppliers, need a predictable environment to operate successfully. It is crucial, therefore, that in the event of a crisis – caused for example by a pandemic – they can rely on the government stepping in to safeguard jobs.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the Act is expected to enter into force at the beginning of 2022.

Author: Roman Kettner