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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-2020-25/1215 Updated – measures in Austria

Re-start bonus (combination wage allowance)

Neustartbonus (Kombilohnbeihilfe)

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 15 June 2020 – 31 December 2021
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 02 October 2020 (updated 11 November 2021)

Background information

Against the background of high unemployment caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the new re-start bonus is intended to promote the take-up of part-time employment by previously registered unemployed people and is a specific form of the combination wage allowance. It is an active labour market policy which has been in place for many years (mostly focusing on older people and especially women re-entering the labour market after interruptions).

Content of measure

The re-start bonus is intended for people who are currently unemployed and who are registered with the public employment service (PES) and who are willing to take up a new position (job offer registered with the PES) where they would earn less than in their previous job.

The minimum number of working hours of the newly taken up are 20 hours per week. The PES then increases this income from part-time work to 80% of the person's full-time net income before unemployment (the PES pays the difference up to an amount of €950 net). The duration of the allowance is limited to a maximum of 28 weeks and concerns fully insured employment relationships that are taken up between 15 June 2020 and 30 June 2021.

The objectives of the measure are:

  • to support companies which have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis and which have not yet been able to regain full capacity.
  • to support take-up of part-time work by unemployed persons who would earn considerably less than before (or even less than their unemployment benefit, e.g. if they were full-time employees before they have become unemployed).
  • to fill vacancies as quickly as possible.

The instrument is available for affected workers in all sectors, but in the context of the COVID-19 crisis it is expected that it will be used primarily within the tourism sector.

Updates

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

28 May 2021

The deadline for take-up of employment in order to qualify for the re-start bonus has been extended from 30 June to 31 December 2021.

01 December 2020

Since 1 December 2020, it is not a prerequisite any more that the newly taken up employment relationship must have been previously registered as a vacancy with the PES.

Use of measure

According to information provided by the labour ministry, by July 2021, 3,785 subsidies had been approved, of which 515 (14%) for people aged 50+, including 35 for people aged 60+.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Unemployed
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Public employment service
National funds

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

Involvement

According to a newspaper article, the social partners and the PES were not involved in the design of the measure upon its first presentation by the labour minister Ms Aschbacher (People's Party ÖVP) in late May 2020. However, the social partners were then involved in the implementation of the measure, as it was decided in the PES' administrative board, in which social partner representatives are present.

Views and reactions

No information on the views are available. However, as it was implemented via the PES' administrative board, which includes social partner representatives, and because it is a new variant of a pre-existing measure, it can be assumed that both sides of the social partners are content.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Re-start bonus (combination wage allowance), measure AT-2020-25/1215 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2020-25_1215.html

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