Today in Austria: A round up of the latest news on Thursday

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Find out what's going on today in Austria with The Local's short roundup of the news.

No ‘large wave’ of layoffs expected, says Labor Minister

ÖVP’s Labor Minister Martin Kocher does not expect a “large wave of layoffs” after the end of the current short-time working phase on June 30th, broadcaster ORF reports.

Companies also use short-time working beyond the current phase 4, said Kocher in an APA interview after his first 100 days in office.

By autumn, he expects 100,000 people to be on short-time work, compared to the most recent figure of 487,000 people.

The Ministry of Labor and Finance as well as the union and the Chamber of Commerce will soon have to agree on a new short-time working model.

Talks with the top representatives of the social partners are planned for next week, and the new model will be revealed in  May. 

Long waiting times for vaccination registration in Lower Austria

There have been complaints about long waiting times for vaccination registration in Lower Austria, broadcaster ORF reports.

Many complained about being on hold for hours with thousands of people on the online platform.

Death count nears grim milestone of 10,000

Almost 10,000 people have died since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in Austria as a result of a coronavirus infection.

The Ministry of the Interior and Health Ministry reported 9,997 deaths on Wednesday, Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports. 

In addition, 600,089 infections have already been registered, meaning 6.7 percent of Austrians have been infected with the virus.

There are still over 2,000 Covid 19 patients in hospital treatment.  The seven-day incidence is 178.5 cases per 100,000 population. 

Council to meet to extend unemployment benefit and support artists

Austria’s National Council will meet today to increase  the temporary increase in emergency aid to the level of unemployment benefit by the end of June and release a further €20 million from the Covid-19 bridging fund for self-employed artists.

The National Council is expected to enable Vienna magistrates to prosecute FPÖ club chairman Herbert Kickl after he took part in a coronavirus demonstration. According to the magistrate, Kickl violated distance and mask rules, which could attract a fine of up to €500, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Long time unemployment rise 

The number of long-term unemployed people has quadrupled in Austria in the past decade, with 146,471 people currently out of a job for more than a year, Wiener Zietung newspaper reports.

The outlet says half of the people who have not found a job for a long time only have a compulsory school certificate, according to  an evaluation by the AMS and 42 percent are over 50 years old.

A study by Vienna University of Economics points to a rise in automation as a possible cause. 

Interest rates ‘looming’ according to media reports

Interest rates rises are looming in Austria according to Die Presse newspaper.

The newspaper says comparison portal Durchblicker says it is seeing early indicators of the rise in fixed interest rates and quotes managing director Reinhold Baudisch saying the phase of low interest rates is “slowly but surely over”. 

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