Germany to extend COVID-19 aid for firms, short-time work

A woman passes a shop with a sticker reading
FILE PHOTO: A woman passes a shop with a sticker reading "shopping by appointment" in the city center after the re-opening of certain businesses, as lockdown measures introduced due to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were eased, in Munich, Germany, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

June 9, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany will extend economic aid for companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic until the end of September to help them get back on their feet once the crisis is over, the government said on Wednesday.

The aid, which companies in Europe’s biggest economy can claim if they can prove their revenues have collapsed due to the crisis, had been due to expire at the end of June.

“This is an important signal so that all companies can get going again quickly after the crisis,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a statement.

More than 105 billion euros ($128.03 billion) has been made available to firms since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, according to the ministry.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet also agreed on Wednesday to extend special short-time work allowances until the end of September to offset the effect of the pandemic on the labour market.

Short-time work allows employers to switch employees to shorter working hours during an economic downturn to keep them on the payroll. It aims to prevent shocks such as the coronavirus crisis leading to mass unemployment.

Some 32 billion euros have been made available for the short-time work initiative.

($1 = 0.8201 euros)

(Reporting by Christian KraemerWriting by Madeline ChambersEditing by Riham Alkousaa, Kirsten Donovan)