Coronavirus: Austria to give all hospitality workers 100 euros

Coronavirus: Austria to give all hospitality workers 100 euros
A closed restaurant in Salzburg. Photo: BARBARA GINDL / APA / AFP
Calling it a ‘lockdown bonus’, all workers in the gastronomy and hospitality sectors in Austria will be given 100 euros for November.

The payments will be available to full-time workers as well as “part-time employees and apprentices”, said Berend Tusch of the Austrian Tourism Department.

Initially, the money was set to be paid only to workers who would normally receive tips as a means of compensation. Bars and restaurants are not allowed to open for November, other than to serve take away food and drink.  

Now however the money will be available to all workers in the hospitality and hotel industry

There is also provision for more payments to be made should Austria’s shutdown extend beyond November. 

“In the event that the lockdown should be extended beyond November, the conclusion of a further supplementary collective agreement has already been agreed between the social partners,” said Tusch.

Funding for businesses

The money is part of a package provided by the Austrian government to sectors impacted by the shutdown. 

Businesses impacted by the shutdown will be entitled to claim 80 percent of their usual sales from the government.

The amount they are paid will be determined with reference to the sales they made in November 2019. 

Companies making a request will not need to work out the number themselves. Finance Minister Gernot Blümel said the government would make the calculation based on the corresponding amount submitted in taxation documents from last year. 

Austrian media has called the plan “extremely favourable” to business owners, not least because many other expenses associated with staff wages will also be paid by government under the AMS offset scheme.

Under the scheme, employers can set their employees wages to zero and have them paid by the government under the short-time working scheme. 

The cost of the scheme is expected to be between 1.5 and two billion euros in November.

Importantly, the money is available not only to businesses who have been forced to close as a result of the measures. 

Other business – i.e. restaurants which now operate only for takeaway – can also access the funding. 

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