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-2022-1/2434 – Updated – measures in Austria
|Country||Austria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 January 2022 – 31 March 2023|
|Context||COVID-19, War in Ukraine|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Responses to inflation
– Support for energy bills
|Author||Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||01 June 2022 (updated 19 June 2023)|
Due to increases in energy prices, the federal Austrian government put together a relief package worth €1.7 billion. Part of the package provides an energy costs compensation worth €150 for all households, except high-income households. Besides this measure, the suspension of green electricity contributions and the inflation compensation payment for those most in need are also part of this first relief package.
In order to support private households in the face of rising energy costs, a voucher worth €150 was sent out to all private households. Upon redemption of the voucher, €150 are deducted automatically from the annual energy bill, from mid-2022 onwards. Single-person households with an annual income of €55,000 and above and multiple-person households with an annual income of €111,000 and above are exempted from receiving a voucher. If the voucher is redeemed by persons belonging to this group, and it is detected, the voucher has to be paid back and no fines occur. In total, the measure's budget is €600 million. The measure is implemented via the Act on energy costs compensation 2022 (Energiekostenausgleichsgesetz 2022).
The measure targets around 4 million households. Information on the actual redemption of the vouchers will be available in 2023.
As of mid-March 2023, around 3 million vouchers have been issued, which corresponds to a relief volume of around €440 million. Around 86% of the vouchers already submitted were deducted from the annual electricity bills, which has relieved 2.5 million households with a volume of €375 million.
|Does not apply to workers||Does not apply to businesses||Applies to all citizens|
Other social actors (e.g. NGOs)
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:
The social partners were not involved in the design, implementation or monitoring of the measure.
The Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) and Chamber of Labour (AK) voiced criticism on the measure, saying that it did not far enough and it had poor the timing (second half of 2022 instead of immediate effectiveness). Instead, the ÖGB has called already in late 2021 for a winter package against rising heating costs, including direct subsidies for low-income households, a reduction in value added tax on gas and electricity and a shutdown freeze on unpaid bills.
Eurofound (2022), Energy costs compensation voucher, measure AT-2022-1/2434 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2022-1_2434.html
30 January 2023
Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.Article
12 September 2022
Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.Article
12 September 2022
This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.Article
Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.