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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case AT-2020-13/585 – measures in Austria

COVID-19 €100 million special fund for 24-hour nursing care

Covid-100 Millionen € Sonderfonds für Pflege

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 24 March 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Access to healthcare
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Case created 14 April 2020 (updated 28 April 2021)

Background information

In Austria, around 33,000 persons in need of long-term care rely on personal 24-hour care workers (most often two carers per person to be cared for, which alternate in biweekly shifts), of which the vast majority (over 98%) are from abroad (mostly from Romania and Slovakia). Due to travel bans, maintaining this care has become a major problem. But also those who are cared for by family members may encounter capacity problems, as well as those in older people's homes or care homes, when staff get sick or are in quarantine.

Thus, the government has announced to provide a specific COVID-Fund worth €100 million for the 460,000 persons in need of care, to be distributed among Austria's nine federal states (as nursing care lies within their competencies). It lies within the regional states' responsibility on how to invest this money. For example, some federal states have made exceptions to travel bans for care workers from the above mentioned countries.

Content of measure

The implementation of the special funds from the €100 million fund for those in need of long-term care will is left to the regional states. The money is to flow into the expansion of hotlines, more staff and spatial resources. According to the Minister of Health, it would not be possible for the existing care situation to be maintained everywhere. The goal would be to“ create resources so that nobody stays alone”. The federal government will make the capacities available to the states that have been freed up by the closure of the spa and nursing homes.

In addition, civilian servants (Zivildiener) are used to relieve the personnel situation (see separate entry AT-2020-11/463 in this database), even if they are to be used for basic care only. At the same time, civilian servants who were currently working in federal institutions such as museums would be assigned to organisations in need of support, e.g. in the nursing area. Institutions and people who need support would have to report their need for civil servants to the respective regional office of the Red Cross.

Use of measure

No specific information on costs and investments are available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Does not apply to businesses Older citizens
Disabled

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Other social actors (e.g. NGOs)
Local / regional government
Social insurance
Public support service providers
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement as case not in social partner domain No involvement as case not in social partner domain
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

N/A

Views and reactions

Not their genuine field of work.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities Q86 Human health activities
      Q87 Residential care activities
      Q88 Social work activities without accommodation
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Personal care workers

Sources

  • 24 March 2020: Package of measures to prevent care crisis (orf.at)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 €100 million special fund for 24-hour nursing care, case AT-2020-13/585 (measures in Austria), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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