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EU PolicyWatch

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-2022-19/2437 – measures in Austria

Increased commuter allowance

Höheres Pendlerpauschale

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 May 2022 – 30 June 2022
Context COVID-19, War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Responses to inflation
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 01 June 2022 (updated 24 June 2022)

Background information

Energy prices, which have been rising for months, have been additionally fuelled by the war in the Ukraine. The federal government thus implemented various measures in the first few months of 2022 (see cases Suspension of green electricity contributions , One-time inflation compensation payment for people in need and Energy costs compensation voucher as part of a first relief package. In March 2022, a second relief package, worth more than €2 billion was announced. It takes further steps to relieve private households and companies and includes an increase in the commuter allowance.

Content of measure

Under certain conditions, employees having to commute to their place of work are entitled to a commuter allowance ( Pendlerpauschale ). Depending on the availability of and thus reasonability to use mass transport, a flat-rate “small” (for those using mass transport) or “large” (usually for those using a car) commuter allowance is paid. The rate varies for both mass transport users and car users, depending on the commuting distance. Rates lie between €31 a month (for a car user from 2km distance on) to €306 a month (for a car user with distances above 60km).

As part of the relief package, the commuter allowance has been increased for the period from May 2022 until June 2023. Additional payments depend on the number of days commuting per month and start at an additional €9.67 for public transport users with a distance between 20 and 40km, commuting between four and seven days a month, up to an additional €153 per month for car users with a distance of over 60km, commuting more than ten days a month. The thus calculated lump sums reduce the wage tax assessment basis and the tax is then recalculated from this lower amount. The tax savings then depend on the marginal tax rates.

In addition, a so-called 'commuter euro' is paid during the period from May 2022 to June 2023, relating to additional €0.50 for each kilometre (one-way), to be adjusted according to the number of journeys per month. This also serves as a tax deduction.

Low-income commuters whose income lies below the income tax threshold receive a one-time payment of €100 to cushion their additional expenses for travelling to work.

Use of measure

Unknown as of June 2022.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses 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
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

No involvement of the social partners.

Views and reactions

The labour side (Austrian Trade Union Federation ÖGB and Chamber of Labour AK) has long argued for users of public transit to receive the "large" commuter allowance instead of the small one and has long criticised that higher-income employees benefit disproportionally from the measure, arguing for the instalment of a deductible amount instead.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Increased commuter allowance, measure AT-2022-19/2437 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2022-19_2437.html

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