Labor Minister Christine Aschbacher (ÖVP) and Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) presented innovations in the measures to combat the Corona crisis on Wednesday after the Council of Ministers as a preparation for a challenging autumn and winter.
On the one hand, there should be an education bonus for the unemployed who want to retrain. The model envisages that people who complete further training and retraining measures for at least four months as part of the Corona Labor Foundation from October 2020 will receive an education bonus of 180 euros in addition to unemployment benefits. According to Aschbacher, this corresponds to an average increase in unemployment benefits of 19 percent. As examples of areas that would make sense to retrain, Anschober named digitization, climate protection and care.
In order to receive the bonus, no additional application will be necessary, the payment will automatically be paid out with the unemployment benefit if the requirements are met. The costs for this amount to 58 million euros until 2022. The work foundation aims to reach a total of 100,000 people, half of whom will receive the education bonus according to the plans.
In addition, half of the special care time will be financed by the federal government with immediate effect. So far, the federal government has paid a third of the costs for special care. The special care time can be requested if schools are closed, even if only one class is blocked. And it can still be used flexibly, i.e. on a weekly, daily and half-day basis, explained Aschbacher.
And finally, the family hardship fund will be increased from 60 to 100 million euros. The reason for this is that “the number of applications is much higher than assumed”. The government wants to support as many families as possible who are particularly affected as a result of the crisis, said Aschbacher.
“Don’t count on orange”
Anschober also addressed the corona situation, which is worsening again not only in Austria, but also across Europe and globally. The pandemic has obviously not yet reached its peak. The numbers in the neighboring Czech Republic and Hungary are also increasing sharply. Border closings are currently not an issue.
In Austria it is above all Vienna and Tyrol that are faced with high numbers. However, Anschober does not expect that there will be orange somewhere (“increased risk”, second highest level) the next time the Corona traffic light changes on Friday.
To the criticism of the Upper Austrian. Governor Thomas Stelzer, who had accused Anschober of “legal ruse”, said the minister that it was a normal process, it was about doing what was necessary.
Safety before speed with vaccine
In connection with the sick test person from the pharmaceutical company AstraZenica developing a corona vaccine, Anschober praised the group for its professional and transparent response. Will the January date for the first vaccine doses shake? He always put a number of question marks about this date – which he himself recently promised. For Austria, safety is the most important thing when it comes to vaccine approval – and I go ahead of speed.
Lesbos refugees: Hope for the EU
The Green politician was also approached about the question of accepting refugees from the camp, which had become acute again due to the fire in the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, not least with a view to the different positions between the coalition partners ÖVP and Greens. The current situation could not leave anyone indifferent, but the positions were unchanged, so Anschober. He counted on the EU and hoped for an “intensification of efforts to ensure a humane approach”. It is known that he is of the opinion that as many as possible should take part.