Website of the Austrian Social Ministry

Short-time working: help during economic difficulties

Short-time working means reducing normal working hours temporarily in order to safeguard existing jobs in companies during times of economic difficulties. The basis for this is an agreement which forms part of legislation on employment and wages (agreement between the social partners). 

"Economic difficulties" are defined, for example, as the loss of orders, supplies or equipment needed for the operation of the company. The effects of natural disasters and other catastrophes can also be mitigated by means of short-time working subsidies. 

As an AMS measure, short-time working subsidies can be used by companies and for workers who suffer a loss of work leading to a loss of earnings.

The time which is not spent carrying out the usual work should be used for meaningful (in terms of labour market policy and for the company's business) skills training for the workers affected to lastingly increase their employability.

Payment for short-time working

Instead of their income from work, employees receive a short-time working allowance for every hour which is lost, and a skills training allowance for every lost hour of work which is used for skills training. 

These allowances are paid by the employer, whereby the Public Employment Service reimburses the latter's costs in accordance with the flat rate amount set for each lost hour.

The regulation of short-time working

Short-time working is regulated by the Public Employment Service Act. It is initially limited to six months, but an extension for a further six months can be granted. In individual cases, the support period can be extended to a maximum of 24 months.

Up-to-date information on the conditions and applications for short-time working subsidies can be found on the website of the Public Employment Service.