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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2020-12/1008 Updated – measures in Austria

Apprentice bonus for companies creating apprenticeships

Lehrlingsbonus

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 16 March 2020 – 31 October 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 20 July 2020 (updated 29 June 2021)

Background information

According to a study by "zukunft.lehre.österreich", 10,000 apprenticeship places are at stake due to the Corona crisis, with commerce, trade and handicrafts, tourism and leisure industry as well as industry being particularly affected. In the 2008/09 financial and economic crisis, a slump of 20 % in the number of new apprentices occurred, according to the economic minister. In order to prevent a similar decrease now, a bonus payment for all those companies employing apprentices and for companies taking over apprentices from supra-company placements are paid.

Content of measure

The federal government pays companies a bonus of €2,000 for every apprentice hired between 16 March and 31 October 2020. The money is to be paid in two tranches: €1,000 at the start of the apprenticeship and €1,000 if retained after the probationary period (usually three months). Funding will also be provided for taking over apprentices in the first year of training from an inter-company apprenticeship scheme until 31 March 2021. If the apprenticeship is terminated during the probationary period, the first instalment will have to be paid back.

This bonus is in addition to a pre-existing basic subsidy that is being paid to all companies training apprentices in the amount of three gross monthly apprenticeship payments in the first apprenticeship year.

In total, €62.7 million are budgeted for the measure.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

01 October 2020

In October 2020, an additional bonus of €500 for micro enterprises (i.e. companies with fewer than ten employees) and €1,000 for small enterprises (i.e. companies with between ten and 49 employees) was implemented.

Use of measure

In mid-December, 11,700 applications had been filed, €22 million had been paid for around 12,000 apprentices.

By June 2021, around €50 million have been paid to 12,915 companies.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Other groups of workers
Youth (18-25) in employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Employers' organisations
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

Before the measure was announced by the federal government, both sides of the social partners had already (loudly) demanded support for apprentices/apprenticeship companies, also via media. The mandatory employer organisation WKO (Federal Economic Chamber) consults its member companies on the application for the bonus. No specific role in the implementation and monitoring phases is foreseen for the social partners.

Views and reactions

The WKO is pleased about the bonus. Its Deputy Secretary General states that it will help "to ensure that there will be no training gap after the corona crisis". Without apprentices, companies would lack the next generation of skilled workers.

The Chamber of Labour (AK) has mixed feelings about the new bonus. Despite the basic subsidies that have been available for decades (see content of the measure), the number of newly hired apprentices has been falling for many years. The AK does not only want to support companies, but also to provide enough money for supra-company training, so that all young people can complete their training up to their final qualification.

The youth organisation of the Trade Union Federation (ÖGJ) is partially content with the measure, and continues to call for a Corona emergency training fund, endowed with €140 million, supporting those companies that have economic difficulties caused by the corona crisis. In addition, the distribution of the support is to be linked to the quality of the training.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Apprentice bonus for companies creating apprenticeships, measure AT-2020-12/1008 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2020-12_1008.html

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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.