Checks on short-time working by the Financial Police: showing as much goodwill as possible, but with as much enforcement as is necessary
Finance Minister Gernot Blümel und Wilfried Lehner, head of the Financial Police, take stock of checks undertaken so far. Checks on short-time working have formed a particular focus.
At today's press conference, Finance Minister Gernot Blümel and Wilfried Lehner, head of the Financial Police, presented a review of checks undertaken in 2019 by the Financial Police in the area of wage and social dumping. Last year, the Financial Police audited a total of 1,890 foreign firms, comprising a total of 4,471 posted or leased employees. In 2019, in total over 239,308 people were posted to Austria through foreign companies; back in 2009, that number was only 9,127.
"This number is continuing to grow, and for that reason it is important that the Financial Police continues to undertake checks on wage and social dumping. We are reinforcing our efforts in this fight – not because the figures are higher, but because of the results achieved. Of those employees from abroad who underwent checks, approximately 10% were underpaid, and a total of 2,099 penalty notices were issued for missing registration papers or wage documentation. In 2020 too, we will of course continue our fight against wage and social dumping in the interests of Austrian firms," added Finance Minister Blümel.
New challenges have arisen in 2020 as a result of the corona crisis. "With all the assistance we have made available, we have said that we wish to be as accommodating as possible. However, we must also undertake as many checks as are needed in order to prevent the possibility of structural abuse. For this reason, we have also followed up leads via the Financial Police in the area of short-time working. The vast majority of business operators are running their businesses in an exemplary manner, but there are also a few rotten apples, and for this reason it was important for the Financial Police to undertake these checks," added Minister Blümel.
Around 350 officers from the Financial Police have conducted checks on 9,749 people nationwide, engaged in short-time working at 2,493 firms. Following these checks, 150 notices were issued for potential breaches. In addition, the results of the checks are also being forwarded to the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) in order to facilitate reconciliation with final statements of account. Besides identifying actual breaches, the checks are primarily preventive in nature. "I wish to express warmest thanks to all employees of the Financial Police. Both the fight against wage and social dumping and the fight against abuse of government grants is a vital one – my thanks for your invaluable efforts," concluded Finance Minister Blümel.