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 – measures in Austria
|Country||Austria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 January 2022 – 31 December 2022|
|Context||COVID-19, War in Ukraine|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Measures to prevent social hardship
– Keeping or obtaining a safe home
|Author||Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||01 June 2022 (updated 20 June 2022)|
Due to strong increases in energy prices in general, and electricity and heating prices specifically, the federal Austrian government put together a relief package worth €1.7 billion. Part of the package forms 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 to be used towards the energy bill was sent out to all private households where a main residency is registered in Austria. Upon redemption of the voucher, €150 are deducted automatically from the annual energy bill, from mid-2022 onwards. High-income households are exempt from redeeming the voucher; this applies to 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. 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 is budgeted with €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 from 2023 on.
|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) have voiced criticism on the measure, as it would not go far enough, as well as on 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
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.