Austria extends furlough scheme until end of June

Short time working 'Kurzarbeit' has been extended until the end of June after the government announced restrictions due to the corona epidemic would stay in place until Easter.

Austria extends furlough scheme until end of June
The word 'work' in German. Photo: INA FASSBENDER / AFP

Previously short time working (Kurzarbeit) was due to expire at the end of March.

The decision to extend short term working was announced on Wednesday following  the Council of Ministers. This will be the fourth phase of short term work since the corona pandemic began. 

The most recent figures show around 460,000 employees in Austria were on short-time work and around 60,000 companies took advantage of the measure to avoid even higher unemployment figures.

Labour Minister Martin Kocher said extending short time work until the end of June 2021 would give companies more certainty. Companies could “rely on the fact that there will continue to be short-time work,” he said.

Finance Minister Gernot Blümel said short-time working had absorbed most of the funds spent as part of the federal government's corona aid. So far 10.6 billion euros has been put aside for short-time working, of which 6.1 billion euros have been paid out so far.

Vienna during lockdown. Photo: AFP

What is short time work? 

Short time work is a government scheme in Austria which allows employees to receive 80 to 90 percent of their normal salary while reducing their working hours. 

As a rule, under the short time work scheme working hours can be reduced up to 30 percent. However, in industries which are officially closed due to lockdown, employees working hours may even be reduced to zero during the lockdown period.

Short time work allows employment to remain secure during temporary economic difficulties, avoids redundancies and allows businesses to maintain flexibility in retaining personnel.

Employees taking part in the short time work scheme in Austria are expected to use their spare time to increase their professional knowledge and skills.  

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EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

Austria's capital city Vienna has begun registration appointments for those who want to get a monkeypox vaccine. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

As of September 9th, people can make reservations for monkeypox vaccination in Vienna, authorities announced. It is possible to register for the vaccine using the health service line by calling 1450 or via the Impfservice website.

The City of Vienna has said the pre-registration is needed because all planning will be done through a central system due to a shortage of vaccines.

“Please understand that due to the vaccine shortage, we cannot offer preventive monkeypox vaccination to everyone interested. We can use the reservation platform to quickly allocate available appointments and contact interested parties as soon as there are more vaccines”, the authorities said.

After the registration, people will be contacted to book appointments on September 14th. The first available date will be September 19th.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox in Austria: What causes it and is it serious?

Who should be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Vaccination of the general population is currently not recommended.

Preventive vaccination is only offered to health care workers with a very high risk of exposure to people with monkeypox (designated monkeypox departments/outpatient clinics/offices) and persons with individual risk behaviour (persons with frequently changing sexual contacts), the City of Vienna said.

The health authorities in Vienna also have a specific information sheet in English with more information on the disease.

Monkeypox is a notifiable disease caused by a virus closely related to the smallpox virus and which can cause a condition similar to smallpox but rarely deadly. People with immunodeficiencies, pregnant women and children are at risk of more severe symptoms.

The virus spreads from person to person through contact with infectious skin lesions, via air droplets through speaking, coughing, sneezing, or other body fluids, and when having prolonged and close physical contact, e.g. through sexual intercourse.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Usually, the first symptoms show up 5 to 14 days (at the latest, 21 days) after exposure. These include fever, general exhaustion, headaches, muscle and body aches, gastrointestinal problems and frequently painfully swollen lymph nodes.

“If you have symptoms and have had contact with someone with monkeypox, you must self-isolate at once and call 1450. If you have a confirmed monkeypox infection, you need to stay in self-isolation until the last crust has fallen off”, the Austrian authorities added.