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Database of national-level policy measures

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-2020-12/576 Updated – measures in Austria

Online application for unemployment benefit and top-up of emergency assistance

Online Anmeldung für Arbeitslosengeld und Aufstockung der Notstandshilfe

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 15 March 2020 – 30 September 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Income support for unemployed
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 13 April 2020 (updated 10 November 2021)

Background information

With new rules and more funds for short-time work, the Austrian government is trying to keep as many people as possible in their jobs. The Public Employment Service (AMS) head Johannes Kopf still expects 'due to the developments' that 'in the coming weeks a lot of people - hopefully for only a short time - will have to register as unemployed'. AMS expects an increased number of people to become unemployed during the current pandemic. In order reduce personal contacts to a minimum, applications for unemployment benefit and emergency assistance can be made without a personal interview from home. This can be done online, or via the electronic system eAMS, or, if online is not possible, via telephone and subsequent mailing of the forms.

Content of measure

Minister of Labour Christine Aschbacher (conservative People's Party ÖVP) has issued a decree stating that people no longer have to come personally to the AMS service centers to apply for unemployment benefits. This should both relieve the AMS and help to limit the spread of the virus.

The preferred way to submit an application is via an eAMS account, 'then a lot of the further communication is done electronically', according to AMS head Kopf. Those who do not yet have one can get one through their 'Finanzonline' account or with their Citizen Card. Those who have neither access to 'Finanzonline' nor a citizen card can apply for an electronic AMS account by email or phone. Then, however, the processing can take a few days. If waiting is not an option, unemployed can also register as unemployed using a form on the AMS website. It is also possible to report unemployment by email. The last option is to call the AMS to have the necessary forms sent to you by post.

For those who receive unemployment benefits and the entitlement period would come to an end (thus receiving the lower emergency assistance), the 'Corona crisis period' is not calculated towards this entitlement, i.e. unemployment benefits are prolonged for the duration of the crisis.


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

28 September 2021

The increased emergency assistance (to the level of unemployment benefits) which has been extended several times to 30 September 2021, has not been prolonged due to decreasing unemployment figures. This has led to harsh criticism by organised labour which had demanded a further extension of the measure.

26 May 2021

The top-up of the emergency assistance was once more prolonged until 30 September 2021.

07 April 2021

The top-up of the emergency assistance to the amount of the unemployment benefit has been extended once more to 30 June 2021.

11 February 2021

The top-up of the emergency assistance to the amount of the unemployment benefit has been extended retroactively to 31 March 2021.

23 September 2020

The topped up emergency assistance (see content of measure), which has been increased to the amount of unemployment benefit for the 'duration of the pandemic' has been extended to 31 December 2020 (for now) - initially, it was planned until September 2020.

Use of measure

Compared to February (333,987 unemployed persons), there was in increase in the number of unemployed both in March (504,345) and in April (522,253). So it can be assumed that the additional unemployed during the Corona crisis (150,000-200,000) could have made use of an online application for the unemployment benefit or have filed the application via mail, telephone or fax.

In 2020, in total, around 291,000 people benefited from the increase in the emergency assistance (usually 92% of the unemployment benefit) to the level of unemployment benefit. Figures from May 2021 show almost 190,000 recipients.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
No special funding required

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The PES administrative board consists of social partner and state representatives, so it can be assumed they were informed.

Views and reactions

Social partners are supportive.



Eurofound (2020), Online application for unemployment benefit and top-up of emergency assistance, measure AT-2020-12/576 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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