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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-2020-14/463 – measures in Austria

Civilian service extension and voluntary reactivation

Verlängerung des Zivildienstes und freiwillige Meldung zum außerordentlichen Zivildienst

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 30 June 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Mobilisation of a larger workforce
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Case created 10 April 2020 (updated 06 May 2020)

Background information

In order to cope with bottlenecks due to the spread of COVID-19 - especially in the areas of nursing and social care as well as in the rescue and health services - more civilian service workers are now being mobilised. First, current civil servants are extended, and secondly, former civil servants are recruited voluntarily. (The so-called 'alternative civilian service' is an alternative form of the mandatory national military service (substitute service). The regular length of ordinary alternative civilian service is nine months, with some compensation provided.) In the pre-existing Civil Service Act (§8a/Abs.6), such a case has been provided for (see sources).

Content of measure

The length of civilian service is extended by 3 months for all those for who it would end by the end of March 2020 (until the end of June 2020 i.e. mandatory, by legal notice). Depending on the development of the situation and as required, those who finish their civil service in April or May 2020 may also receive an extension of up to 3 months. It is planned to transfer civilian servicemen who are currently serving or will soon be serving to positions where there is special need (e.g. if a civilian servant would have an assignment for a kindergarten, but this is closed, he will be assigned to another facility instead, e.g. a retirement home). In addition, former civil servants are recruited voluntarily for full-time positions (at least 40 hours per week, overtime can be added) from May or June 2020 for a duration of two to three months.

While regular civil servants who have been mandatorily extended receive their regular remuneration (€346.70) plus supplement of €189.90 (tax free), the newly recruited voluntary former civil servants receive in addition to this a flat-rate compensation of almost €1,300 (gross).

Use of measure

The extension of the civil service for those for who it would have ended in March applies to around 1,500 persons. On 1 April 2020, around 3,500 newly recruited voluntary former civil servants started their service.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Other groups of workers
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions

This was a unilateral initiative by the government.



Eurofound (2020), Civilian service extension and voluntary reactivation, case AT-2020-14/463 (measures in Austria), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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