"For my best employees in the world!
Josef Zotter pays out a special bonus of € 130,000 to his employees in December; with the demand to the government to enable a tax-free payment so that the bonus reaches the employees in full.
If we thought last year that we were facing special challenges, we know today that the situation has hardly changed a year later. We are still in the midst of a pandemic, in uncertainty, we can hardly plan ahead, raw materials are hard to source and new issues are gaining importance. Flexibility has almost become a permanent condition and what is valid today can be different tomorrow. Planning and budgeting is one thing, but on the other hand it is the staff who have to manage these tasks and find and implement new solutions under the rapidly changing conditions. This requires a high degree of idealism and optimism from everyone.
The Zotter Experience World was closed for a long time at the beginning of the year, then it was only possible to visit with a reduced range of products. During the closure periods, the shop was rebuilt, a new delicatessen shop was opened, the outdoor areas were restructured and the entire entrance area was redesigned with a green glass extension. The visitor area could only be operated in a shorter season.
"We have made every effort to ensure that our customers notice as little as possible of these many organisational changes and that customer service could always be maintained at the usual high level," Josef Zotter emphasises.
At Zotter, there is a large long table in the staff canteen. Here, fresh food is prepared for everyone every day and we eat together like in an extended family - whoever comes, takes a seat. This boosts communication between the departments and enables a short flow of information. In the last few weeks, that couldn't happen either. Strict schedules had to be made, departments had to be separated and yet we still managed to share important information and this at a time when so much in the company was constantly changing.
"I don't see it as the government's job to reward my staff with bonus payments, but it is a matter of concern for me and my family to say thank you to our employees," Josef Zotter explains his intention. In December, he pays out a special bonus to his employees - graded according to years of employment - regardless of gender, salary level or education. "Because everyone has given their best and everyone is part of the success and for that we want to say thank you as an entrepreneurial family."
For this, the entrepreneur reaches deep into his pocket and takes € 130,000 from the company reserves to pay out to his staff. This special bonus will be paid with the December salary. Last year, a special bonus of € 100,000 was already paid to the staff for the first time, this was possible tax-free once in 2020 due to corona and landed in the staff's account without deduction. This year, this special regulation is no longer possible and the bonus is added to the salary and must be fully taxed, which unfortunately results in a reduction of the amount. "We appeal to the government and those responsible in the Ministry of Finance to make a tax-free payment of a bonus possible again this year, so that hard work and personal commitment are rewarded in these difficult times and employees can fully enjoy the bonus!" says Josef Zotter, who is standing up for his workforce.
Whether Corona slows down the entrepreneur in the implementation of his visions or plans: "Yes, it is very demanding and exhausting, I still have many sleepless nights, the permanent uncertainty and unpredictability of the situation causes me a lot of discomfort, but my team gives me strength with their dedication and commitment and I wish that they at least get paid the special bonus without deductions. And next year? - Will be a good year, I am convinced of that!"
The Austrian economy is strongly characterised by family businesses, they are mainly located in the areas of production, trade and tourism. What distinguishes family businesses is forward-looking, long-term planning; they can make decisions faster and implement them quickly. This flexibility is a great advantage, especially in times of rapid change, and it would be desirable if this flexibility also received appropriate support from the government in pandemic times.