| @Karolina Grabowska

The short-time allowance - the continuation

22. August 2021
From Probandt
Reading time: ca. 3 Minuten

The social protection package II - was passed by the Bundesrat on 15.5.2020. The short-time allowance will be raised and extended. What are the consequences in the pension and health insurance and how it goes on with the unemployment benefit.

On May 15, 2020, the so-called social protection package II. was decided by the Bundesrat. According to this, on the one hand, the amount of short-time allowance will be increased after a longer period of entitlement. Furthermore, the entitlement period of unemployment benefits will be extended once by three months, provided that the claim would end between 01.05.2020 and 31.12.2020.

Previously, it was possible to apply for short-time allowance as soon as 10% of a company's employees were affected by the work stoppage. The build-up of negative working time accounts is waived and social security contributions are reimbursed by the Federal Employment Agency in the case of short-time work. Importantly, short-time allowance is also paid to employees in temporary employment. The periods due to short-time work are normal periods of employment during which pension entitlements are acquired. The protection of the statutory pension insurance remains in full force. This is important insofar as it is checked whether the 35-year waiting period has been fulfilled. If the so-called short-time allowance "zero" is paid, the employee receives no salary but only short-time allowance. However, these periods also count in the two years before retirement, provided that it is checked whether the 45-year waiting period for the old-age pension for particularly long-serving insured persons has been fulfilled. There are slight reductions in the pension amount. These amount to a maximum of EUR 7.00 for average earners and that only with short-time work zero.

With short-time work zero, the employer bears the contributions to the pension insurance alone. However, the employment agencies reimburse him the contributions only on application. This applies until the end of 2021. Employees working part-time are subject to the usual social security contributions, as is the case elsewhere.

In short-time work, the entitlement to unemployment benefit I is not touched. Short-time workers continue to be insured against unemployment even if they do not pay their own contributions during short-time work zero. If notice is given after the expiration of the short-time allowance, those affected are entitled to receive unemployment benefits for 12 months, and even longer if they are 50 or older. Short-time working does not play a role in the amount of unemployment benefits. Rather, it depends on what the employee or employees earned before the short-time work. There is full insurance coverage in the health insurance. This also applies to employees who are voluntarily insured by law. The employer pays contributions, which are expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Employment Agency at the end of 2021. Therefore, the employer must "put these payments on deadline."

If someone becomes ill during short-time work, he is entitled to six weeks of continued payment of the reduced wages and, in addition, to the short-time allowance. Thus, nothing would change for six weeks. After that, the health insurance fund takes over the sick pay. Sick pay is calculated according to the agreed gross wage and not according to the short-time allowance. For privately insured employees, however, everything remains the same. Even during short-time work, private health insurance contributions must be paid, and in full.
Short-time allowance is not taxable. However, it may result in the total wages received in a calendar year being subject to more tax under certain circumstances. This does not apply, of course, to single people on short-time work zero for an entire year.

The short-time allowance is increased, provided that the employee must work only 50% of the original working hours, from the 4th month to 70% or 77% with children, and from the 7th month to 80% or 87% for households with children of the flat-rate net pay. This will apply until Dec. 31, 2020 at the latest

The additional earnings limit up to the full amount of the previous monthly income is opened for all professions. An unresolved question is at what point social security contributions will have to be paid again.

For those who were already unemployed before the Corona crisis and draw unemployment benefits under SGB III, a placement should not be possible at present. Therefore, unemployment benefits will be extended by three months, provided that the entitlement to unemployment benefits would end between 01.05.2020 and 31.12.2020.

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