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Politics

New Democracy Mulls German Scheme to Avoid COVID-19 Layoffs

ATHENS – Greece’s New Democracy government is reportedly looking at a German model to avoid layoffs because of the fallout of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic but it will mean pay cuts and fewer working hours.

Germany uses a so-called Kurzabeit scheme that is a type of part-time or rotating employment that will provide some work but less pay, adding another obstacle to the government’s plan to bring back an economy that was just starting to recover faster from a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis when the virus hit.

The government has given an 800-euro ($874.59) one-time benefit to workers temporarily laid off during a lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the virus but there’s no word on whether all will be brought back as the shutdown is gradually being lifted this month.

The Κurzarbeit model lets businesses and employers cut work hours in half – and pay the same – with the state so far covering 60 percent of the 50 percent loss. That means workers overall will lose 20 percent of their salaries, bringing back the nightmare of austerity.

The aim of the job subsidy plan is to prevent lay-offs once the initial 45-day suspension ends, as well as to avoid possible cuts in wages which would further undercut the economy, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

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O oceanic you sing and sail White on your body and yellow on your chimeneas For you're tired of the filthy waters of the harbors You who loved the distant Sporades You who lifted the tallest flags You who sail clear through the most dangerous caves Hail to you who let yourself be charmed by the sirens Hail to you for never having been afraid of the Symplegades (Andreas Empeirikos)   What traveler has not been fascinated by the Greek islands, drawn by the Sirens’ song of a traveler’s dreams? TNH and our video show ‘Mission’ marked the change of the season by transporting viewers into the heart of summer.

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