July 14, 2020 / 11:55 AM / a month ago

Number of Austrians in short-time work schemes increases slightly

FILE PHOTO: Austrian Labour Minister Christine Aschbacher talks to the media during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria, June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

VIENNA (Reuters) - The number of people in Austria working in so-called Kurzarbeit layoff prevention schemes increased by more than 50,000 last week, the labour minister said on Tuesday, due to companies that submitted extension applications with retroactive effect.

There were 454,171 people using the scheme, named for a German model, compared to more than 1.37 million at the height of the coronavirus crisis end May, Christine Aschbacher told a news conference.

Austria’s government in March introduced a three-months Kurzarbeit scheme, which typically provides at least 80% of pay for workers without jobs but expected to return. It later allowed for a three-months extension of the scheme.

One third of applications for an extension of the scheme came from industrial businesses, 15% from retailers and 12% from the hotel and restaurant sector, the minister said.

Aschbacher announced the formation of a task force for youth employment to overcome a current shortage of apprenticeships and to help young people get back into jobs.

In a first step, the government plans to support financially 1,000 people between 20 and 30 years, with higher incentives when they are willing to move for the job or vocational training.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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