German minister wants short-time working allowance extension
BERLIN (Europe) – German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to extend the amount of time people can get paid on the government’s short-time work scheme to two years from a maximum of one year, magazine Der Spiegel on Friday cited a finance ministry document as showing.
Short-time work is a form of state aid that allows employers to switch employees to shorter working hours during an economic downturn to keep them on the payroll.
The German government is expected to announce a new stimulus package next week to support the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Sources have said the measures would be worth between 50 and 100 billion euros.
Der Spiegel said Scholz was proposing a successor programme for the 50 billion euro ($55.63 billion) aid package for very small companies and the self-employed, adding that this would help the hospitality sector, travel agencies, trade fair organisers and event logistics companies in particular.
A Finance Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report. Separately, a senior finance ministry official said the deliberations were still at an early stage.
The report said Scholz also wanted to reduce the burden on private households from a fee levied on German consumers to support renewable power.
The so-called EEG fee paid under German law to producers of green energy by consumers has been criticised for years as it helps make German retail power prices the highest in Europe after Denmark. Unions and consumer advocates say electricity prices are becoming a social issue as cash-strapped householders cannot cope.
Der Spiegel said Scholz wanted to give the country’s switch to renewable energy and its digitalisation drive a boost by providing more generous tax incentives.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)