© HERBERT NEUBAUER
Vienna – The new Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) expects unemployment to continue to rise. The number of unemployed will probably increase slightly in January and possibly also in February, but that is also seasonal, he said at a joint press conference with Economics Minister Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP). “I hope that the summit will be reached very soon.” The development of unemployment depends of course on the development of the pandemic.
“We can only cushion”
The focus is now on the vaccinations being administered as quickly as possible and the number of infections falling. “We can only cushion,” said Kocher. Any extension of short-time working after the current regulation expires at the end of March also depends on the corona pandemic. If it still takes time to get a vaccination, then that speaks in favor of extending short-time work. However, Kocher did not want to commit himself whether the Corona short-time work would be extended. He also did not want to commit to a possible introduction of the controversial AMS algorithm; all legal questions would have to be clarified beforehand.
📽️ Video | Press conference: Current situation on the labor market
The new minister was optimistic that there would be a home office regulation as soon as possible. The preparatory work for this is well advanced. However, he cannot yet say whether the new regulation will come in January. However, he will “prioritize” them, said the Neo-Minister in the Ö1 “Morgenjournal”. In any case, Kocher wants to meet the representatives of the social partners who have been negotiating a home office arrangement for months this week. However, the Ministry of Finance should also be involved because of tax issues.
In the “ZiB2” of ORF television, Kocher said on Monday that he was aiming for “full employment” in the long term, that is the goal of every labor minister. He does not want to announce whether he voted for ÖVP in the last election. He was also covered on the question of the admission of refugees from camps in Greece, a controversial issue between the coalition partners ÖVP and the Greens, because he was not an expert.
📽️ Video | Minister Kocher on Monday in the “ZiB2”
Against increase in unemployment benefit
The new minister rejects the increase in unemployment benefits from 55 percent of your last income to 70 percent, as demanded by the union. Now is not the time to reform unemployment benefits. A short-term increase would be difficult and unfair if unemployment benefits were reduced to 55 percent after the Corona period.
Care must be made more attractive in any case, but it’s not just about wages, but also about other factors, says Kocher. (WHAT, TT.com)