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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-2021-51/2428 Updated – measures in Austria

One-time inflation compensation payment for people in need

Einmalzahlung als Teuerungsausgleich an Bedürftige

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 15 December 2021 – 31 May 2022
Context COVID-19, War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Responses to inflation
– Increasing income in general
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 01 June 2022 (updated 15 September 2022)

Background information

At the end of 2021 and early 2022, the strongest Corona wave thus far hit the country. In order to not let the "health crisis lead to a social crisis", as the chairperson of the Green Party, junior partner of the federal coalition government announced, a one-time payment for those persons most in need was decided. The inflation compensation payment targets towards combating the consequences of poverty caused by COVID-19 and is part of the first anti-inflation package of the Austrian government 2022 worth €1.7 billion. Further parts of the package include an energy costs compensation worth €150 for households and the suspension of green electricity contributions .

Content of measure

A one-time inflation compensation payment of €150 was initiated for several groups of low-income people: for unemployed people who receive unemployment benefit or emergency assistance, for people who are dependent on social assistance or minimum benefits, pensioners receiving a pension so low that they receive a compensatory allowance, long-term recipients of sick leave or rehabilitation benefits receiving a compensatory allowance and students receiving study grants or a mobility grant.

In March 2022, the doubling of the premium from €150 to €300 for specific groups was decided, i.e. for those having received unemployment benefits, emergency assistance, pension advances or retraining allowances for at least 30 days in the months of January and February, and in addition for households on minimum incomes and students.

Premiums were paid between January and May 2022. The Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection and the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research are responsible for the implementation of the measure.

Updates

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

28 July 2022

Within the framework of a third anti-inflation package, which consists of several measures, further one-time payments for persons in need or persons obtaining unemployment benefits, social welfare or small pension payments were announced:

  • A further one-time payment of €300 is paid automatically in September 2022 to recipients of the following social benefits: benefits from unemployment insurance (unemployment benefit, emergency assistance); compensatory allowances; social welfare; retraining allowance; study grants; transitional allowance; reintegration allowance; sickness and rehabilitation benefits (if these are drawn over a longer period of time)
  • Cost of living tax credit for pensioners: Retirees receiving a pension of between €1,200 to €1,800 (gross) receive a one-time tax credit of €500 (below and above these amounts, smaller tax credits are granted)
  • Low-income earners earning between €1,060 and €1,800 a month (gross) receive a one-time tax credit of €500.

This cost-of-living tax credit is automatically taken into account in the (employee) tax assessment for 2022 (at the beginning of 2023 at the earliest). The tax credit reduces income tax or leads to a credit.

Use of measure

Around 750,000 persons would benefit from the payment, according to the federal ministries, worth a total of €100 million for the initial payment and a further €100 million for the subsequent second bonus.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Unemployed
Does not apply to businesses Pensioners
Students
People on social benefits
People on low incomes

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 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: N/A

Involvement

The social partners were not involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of the measure.

Views and reactions

The president of the Austrian Trade Union Federation ÖGB Wolfgang Katzian welcomed the announced relief, but stated that it could be a first step only. The president of the Chamber of Labour (AK), Renate Anderl called for an “immediate energy aid fund” into which the energy industry should pay in order to help households in financial difficulties. In addition, the VAT should be halved (to ten percent) for a limited period of time.

The Federation of Austrian Industry (IV) has stated that it missed emergency aids for affected companies - the energy price situation would require immediate action and companies would need compensation for electricity prices, according to IV's president Georg Knill. The Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) also sees companies under great pressure, especially in sectors such as steel, chemicals, paper, glass and stone/ceramics.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2022), One-time inflation compensation payment for people in need, measure AT-2021-51/2428 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2021-51_2428.html

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