Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Ya Ali Madad. During this time of COVID-19, we know that this a very difficult time for you and your family in Germany and Austria. Please rest assured the Institutions are here to support you and will do our utmost to help you in this difficult time. 

The AKEPB has prepared a checklist of items that you need to ensure are in place or you have considered. Although it is difficult to think of these things at this time, it is important to you and your family that you consider the list below.  We have separated the list into three key areas: personal finance, employment and business. Should this not cover all your questions, please do reach out to the AKEPB for more support on  0 69 222 214 075 in Germany or 0720 02 2905 in Austria or email [email protected].  We are here to help.

Personal Finance Areas to Consider:
• Have you paid all your insurance and critical illness covers? Ensure these are up to date. Contact your insurance companies to get the up to date policies, deductible amounts and cover.

• Whilst you are at home, do you have enough cash flow to cover your basic necessities? Have you prepared a budget looking at your wants and needs that covers your short and medium term needs? Ensure you keep a reserve fund that covers all your necessities. You can find online tools to help your prepare budgets, see a budget planner here.

• If you are unable to meet your mortgage or rental obligations, please reach out to your bank or landlord explain your situation to see if you can amend your payment plans so that it is more manageable.

• Ensure that for any amendments you make to payment plans with any providers, you understand the new terms and conditions.

• Review all your monthly subscriptions including transport, gym memberships and enquire about refunds. Most companies are offering some refund or credit options.

• Do not make any new financial commitments until the economic impact of COVID-19 is clear.

• Be alert to potential scams regarding coronavirus: do not click on links or attachments from people you do not know, avoid giving out personal details over the phone and veri-fy information before you make decisions.

• Ensure your will and Power of Attorney (POA) documents are up to date.

• Please share the location of all your important documents including investments (at home and abroad) with a trusted member of your friends or family.

Employment Areas to Consider:
• There is a high possibility that employers may ask employees to work short-time. This will have an impact on the monthly remuneration that you may receive. The short-time work allowance for employees is 60% of the flat-rate salary and 67% for working parents. Details available here.

•      If there is no worker’s council, a declaration of understanding is needed to be signed between the employer and employee for short-time work agreements.

• As an employee if you hold a sideline job before short-time work was introduced then you can continue. The income from this will not be counted in your short-time work allowance.

• If short-time work allowance is not enough to cover your monthly needs, basic security benefits (Arbeitslosengeld II) can be applied for.

•     If you are ordered to quarantine or develop COVID-19 and are therefore incapable of work, you will continue to receive your wages in the event of illness for up to 6 weeks. Please keep your employer informed if a situation like this arises.

• We encourage you to keep an open line of communication with your employer during this time so that if you do need to discuss any amendments to your employment as a result of you or your family it may be easier.

• If you are unsure of any of the reliefs or benefits available, we encourage you to contact the Federal Employment Agency hotline at 0800 45555 20

Business Areas to Consider:
• The German Govt has agreed to emergency aid for up to €50bn in emergency aid for small businesses.

• One of the initiatives including in the new aid is grants for small businesses including self-employed individuals. The German government will provide €9,000 for up to 3 months for businesses up to 5 employees and €15,000 for up to 3 months for businesses with up to 10 employees. Details are available here.

• Most states including NRW, Berlin, Bayern, Hessen have launched state-wide assistance related to COVID-19. In addition to the grants for operating businesses already in operation, start-ups, freelancers will also be supported.

• In Austria, the government has launched a hardship fund for €1bn for entrepreneurs in small funds, self-employed individuals and liberal professionals. Details are available here.

• Austria has bridging opportunities for working capital loans for EPU/SME’s and tourism companies that are continually being expanded. You can see details and the application here

• Austrian companies can apply for tax deferrals or payment in instalments if there has been an impact on cash-flow due to the virus. The same applies to Chamber 1 and Chamber 2 allocation. You can also request that deferred interest be zero.

• The Austrian government has been working with energy providers to cushion hardship cases. Please see here for more information.

Updates to the policies available are coming in regularly, we encourage the Jamat to keep up to date by following their respective government websites.  If you are in need of more support, please reach out to AKEPB on  0 69 222 214 075 in Germany or 0720 02 2905 in Austria or email [email protected].

Salim Janmohamed
Chairman of the AKEPB