Updates on Covid-19 support measures – Nov/Dec 2020

Uncategorized @en - 05/10/2020 - Xenia Kopf

“Lockdown bonus” for self-employed artists

Because of the current lockdown, elf-employed artists in Austria are eligible for a special payment of 1.300 Euros, no matter whether or not they are receiving any other financial support. Applications are open until 31 December 2020 at SVS:


WKO emergency fund: improvements in phase 2

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. On 7 October 2020, new improvements were announced: the fund was extended until March 2021 and the number of eligible months has been doubled.

  • Extension of funding period until mid-March 2021 and “once-only-principle”

The emergency fund has been extended until mid-March 2021. Data and information already provided during an earlier application will not have to be provided again by applicants.

  • Doubling of elegibility period from six to twelve months (mid-March 2020 until mid-March 2021).

Until now, six out of nine months were eligible for funding. As of the new regulation, applicants can apply for funding for all twelve months within the funding period.

Improvements in phase 2 compared to phase 1

  • All funding amounts paid in phase 2 that were below 500 Euros because of the 2.000 Euro threshold will be raised to 500 Euros.

Until now, there were subsidies below 500 Euros in cases where own entrepreneurial earnings and/or additional earnings and/or insurance benefits existed with an overall cap of 2.000 Euros. This raise will be automatic, processed cases will receive an additional payment.

  • Introduction of an additional comeback bonus of 500 Euros per appraisal period.

Until now the minimum subsidy was 500 Euros (except in cases as mentioned above). Henceforth, with the adding of the comeback bonus of 500 Euros, there will be no funding sum below 1.000 Euros per month in all eligible cases. Already processed cases will receive the comback bonus automatically.

  • Marginally (self-)employed pensioners will be entitled to apply.

Until now, only those who could present „social insurance based on a self-employed business activity“ at the time of application were eligible for funding. This excluded marginally (self-) employed workers and pensioners. Henceforth, existing social insurance will be the sole criteria, including pensioners.

 Emergency Fund for Self-Employed Persons (in German)

Announced: Protective shield fund for event sector

On 25 September the government announced a protective shield fund for the event sector worth 300m Euro. In case of cancellations or reductions due to Covid-19, it will refund noncancelable expenses. Events that fall under the protective shield include e.g. international congresses, small cultural events, theatre festivals or concert series. More details will follow in November.

https://www.bmkoes.gv.at/Themen/Corona.html (in German)

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.


Short-time work phase 3

Starting October 2020, there is a new 6-month rule for short time work. An effective employment contract of at least 30 days prior to short time work is still necessary. While on short time work, work time can be reduced to a minimum of 20% and may reach a maximum of 70% of the prior work time (90% in exceptional cases). Short time work benefits are still calculated based on the prior earnings and will amount to 80%, 85% or 90% of prior pay. If workers are employed for a period of at least 30 days prior to application, they can be included in short time work also later in phase 3.


New since July 2020: Bridge the gap financing for artists

Key points:

  • 1.000 Euro max. per month for 6 months max. (6.000 max. in total) per person
  • 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

Bridge the gap financing for artists (in German)

KSVF emergency fund: currently fully utilized, increase pending, open for applications

KSVF (Künstlersozialversicherungsfonds) has launched a Covid-19 emergency fund endowed with 5 million Euros. Both artists as well as cultural workers (Kulturvermittler*innen) are eligible to apply. The funding of 500 Euro will be upgraded to a funding of 1.000 Euro for everybody who applied; the amount will be transferred without the need of a new application.

Application submissions for Phase 1 emergency relief of € 1.000, has ended on July 2. As of July 10, 2020 it is possible to submit applications for assistance (Phase 2). The goal of phase 2 is to ease the special emergency and difficult cases of artists and cultural workers who were 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 of up tp € 3.000, who at the time of application meet the following criteria:

A. not eligable for the WKO emergency fund

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


  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.  A maximal income in the last fiscal year, as reported on the tax return of € 60.144 (80% the annual social insurance highest calculating basis). Applicants who do not file a tax return must submit their own estimated income.