Updates on Covid-19 support measures – July/August 2021

Covid, Info - 08/01/2021 - Xenia Kopf

WKO emergency/hardship fund: new extension coming up

Applications for Phase 2 of the Emergency/Hardship Fund can be submitted up to and including 7/31/2021. Phase 2 includes a total of 15 eligibility periods, the last eligibility period for Phase 2 is 5/16/2021 – 6/15/2021. Applications are to be submitted monthly for the previous time period.

As of July 2021, the Emergency/Hardship Fund will be extended. The policy for Phase 3 is currently being developed. Announced key points for phase 3:

  • Entry criterion: 50 % loss in turnover, or running costs cannot be covered (entry ban / “Betretungsverbot” will no longer count as a criterion)
  • Amoung: 600 Euros (instead of 1,100 Euros incl. Comeback Bonus and additional bonus); max. 2,000 Euros
  • Eligibility period: starting 7/31/2021 (there will be an automatic refund for the period 6/15/2021-6/30/2021)
  • Application: starting 8/2/2021 until end of October 2021
  • New: mobile phone signature (“Handysignatur”)

Applications for Phase 3 (eligibility period July until September 2021) are expected to start Monday, 8/2/2021.

Attention! There are special rules for applications submitted on or after 15 April:

  • The self-employed entrepreneurial activity has to be active at time of application and throughout the whole eligibility period applied for (no “Ruhendmeldung”); and
  • No unemployment benefits may have been collected at the time of application and throughout the whole eligibility period applied for.

The emergency fund is a funding instrument of the Federal Government, providing self-employed workers and entrepreneurs with support for their personal cost of living during the Corona crisis. Curent key points:

  • Funding period: 16 March 2020 until 15 June 2021
  • Elegibility period: 15 months
  • “Once-only-principle” (data and information already provided during an application will not have to be provided again)
  • Minimum funding € 500 plus € 500 “Comeback Bonus”, plus € 100 additional bonus
  • Marginally (self-)employed people and pensioners will be entitled to apply (precondition: social insurance)

 WKO Emergency Fund for Self-Employed Persons (in German)

SVS Bridge the gap financing for artists: extended until September

Starting August, artists who are still affected by the Corona crisis despite openings can apply for an amount of 600 euros per month for the third quarter of 2021, for a total of 1,800 euros. Retroactive applications for previous consideration periods are no longer possible.

Key points:

  • Uncomplicated calculation method, non-bureaucratic application process
  • Processed through the Social Insurance Institution for Commerce and Trade, Freelancers and Farmers (SVS), the lawful service center for artists
  • ATTENTION: emergency funds of Chamber of Commerce (WKO) will be deducted

https://www.svs.at/cdscontent/?contentid=10007.859358 (in German)

KSVF Covid-19 fund: extension coming up

For all artists who are not eligible to apply for either SVS bridge the gap financing or the Chamber of Commerce’s Emergency/Hardship Fund, the Covid 19 Fund of the Artists’ Social Insurance Fund KSVF is still available. Again, another disbursement is in the works for the third quarter of 2021.

The fund was initially worth € 5 m and was increased twice by amendments to a total of € 20 m (1 October 2020 to € 10 m, and 23 Dezember to € 20 m). Phase 1 (€ € 1,000) ended on 2 July 2020, phase 2 ran from 10 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 (€ 3,000, increased to € 3,500). Phase 3 started started 15 January and ended 30 June 2021 (€ 1,500, increased to € 3,300).

The goal of the KSVF Covid-19 fund is to ease the special emergency and difficult cases of artists and cultural workers who are not eligible for asssistance according to the regulations of the WKO emergency fund or the gap bridging measues of the SVS. The KSVF can now give aid to artists and cultural workers who at the time of application:

A. are neither eligible for the WKO emergency fund

B. nor the bridge the gap assistance of the SVS,

AND

  1. have their main residence in Austria
  2. are significantly economically threatened as a result of COVID-19 , for instance, at the time of submission are unable to meet costs of living or costs of doing business because of official ordinances in the fight against COVID- 19 temporarily or permanently limiting or forbidding the practice of their artistic/cultural profession and source of income.
  3. receive no assistance or compensation from private or professional insurance services to cover losses entailed through COVID-19 privaten bzw. beruflichen
  4. have not received funds for the same circumstances from KSVF-Assistance fund in accordance with § 25c Abs. 3 K-SVFG.
  5.  had an income in the last fiscal year, as reported on the tax return of maximum € 60.144 (80% the annual social insurance highest calculating basis). Applicants who do not file a tax return must submit their own estimated income.

KSVF Covid-19 fund (in German)

Short-time work phase 5 started 1 July 2021

The Corona short time work measure was extended once more: Phase 5 started July 1st 2021 and will run until 30 June 2022. To be eligible for this measure, workers still have to have at least one full calender month of employment preceding short time work. During short time work, working time can be reduced to 50%, in badly affected companies to 30%, in individual special cases even 10%. The net replacement rate is, depending on the income, 80 to 90%.

https://www.ams.at/unternehmen/personalsicherung-und-fruehwarnsystem/kurzarbeit

Lockdown bonus for self-employed artists: 1,000 Euros for March/April

As of 1 April 2021, self-employed artists in Austria can apply for another lockdown compensation payment of 1,000 Euros for the time period March to April 2021.

This special payment was introduced in November 2020 in the amount of 1,300 Euros, then increased to 2,000 Euros in December 2020 (the difference of 700 Euros was paid automatically to recipients). Another 1,000 Euros was available for Jan/Feb 2021.

Everyone who is eligible for the SVS bridge the gap assistance and/or the WKO emergency fund, or who has received money from these funds, is eligible for the lockdown bonus too. It is fresh money, support received before is not deducted. Applications are open at SVS.

https://www.svs.at/cdscontent/?contentid=10007.859358 (application no. 3, for info see item #7, Lockdownkompensation für Künstler*innen)

Protective shield fund for events started 15 January

The € 300 m protective shield fund shall ease the planning and realization of events in arts, culture, sports and other areas (incl. congresses, fairs and markets). It is supposed to also help cultural operators cover for series or cycles of events.

It will refund noncancelable expenses in case of cancellations or reductions due to Covid-19. Revenues, insurance payments and other aids will be deducted. Eligible costs are:

  • Noncacelable expenses for third party goods and services (e.g. artists, technical equipment, catering, venue etc.) as well as
  • Labor costs in direct connection with the planning and realization of the event.

The aid processed through Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank ÖHT. Applications opened 15 January 2021. The earliest eligible event date is 1 February 2021, the latest 31 December 2022. Attention: Specific rules apply to eligible organizers, the event itself and eligible costs.

BMKÖS protective shield fund for events (in German)

Reduced VAT rate of 5% extended until 31.12.2021

To support businesses in hospitality, the hotel sector and the arts and culture sector, which were hit especially hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, the reduced VAT rate of 5% will be extended until the end of 2021. More information on extensions of Covid-19 support measures currently in place:

Infos of BMF on the reduced VAT rate (in German)

Covid-19 info service by BMKÖS for artists and cultural professionals

The Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport has set up an info service for artists and cultural professionals regarding Covid-19 issues. Hotline: +43 1 71 606 851185 (Mon–Fri 9am–3pm), email: kunstkultur@bmkoes.gv.at. FAQs, further contacts, regulations, conditions for live events etc. at:

https://www.bmkoes.gv.at/Themen/Corona/Corona-Kunst-und-Kultur.html (in German)

AMS: New calculation periods for the assessment basis

ATTENTION: New calculation period for the assessment basis for unemployment benefits, since July 1, 2020

A long planned change in unemployment insurance laws went into effect as of July 1, 2020. Until now, calculation of unemployment benefits was in accordance with the time of application and adjusted with income from the last or previous year. As of July 1, the exact date of application is regarded as the basis.

This means the following: Calculation is based on the last twelve monthly contributions to the unemployment system before expiration of the (12 month) correction period. If there are less than 6 months of contributions, calendar months within the correction period will be included.

For example:

  • Registration with the AMS in July 2021
  • 12 month correction period including July 2020
  • Basis for calculation is July 2019 to June 2020

Also new is that special payments are calculated at a flat rate of one sixth of ongoing remuneration!

Transitional provision: If there are no monthly contributions, the old basis for calculation will be used.

https://www.ams.at/arbeitsuchende/arbeitslos-was-tun/geld-vom-ams/arbeitslosengeld