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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-2022-32/2855 – measures in Austria

Financial measures supporting families in the cost-of-living crisis

Familienleistungen

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 August 2022
Context 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 13 September 2022 (updated 20 September 2022)

Background information

Due to the high inflation, driven by increasing energy and food prices and supply shortages, the federal government of Austria has initiated a second anti-inflation package in June and a third in August 2022.

The package consists of several measures targeted towards compensating businesses, workers and citizens for the increasing prices. In order to support families, several family allowances have been increased.

Content of measure

All families receiving family allowance ( Familienbeihilfe ) for their child or children receive a special payment of €180 per child in August. In general, all parents whose centre of life is in Austria and whose child lives with them in a household or for who they mainly provide maintenance, are entitled to family allowance up to the age of 18. From then on, the allowance is granted only under certain conditions, e.g. when the child is enrolled at university.

Furthermore, the so-called family bonus ( Familienbonus ) has been increased for 2022 onwards. The family bonus is a tax reduction, which is generally granted if family allowance is received. Depending on the income (the higher the income, the higher the tax bonus), the maximum amount was at €1,500 per child from 2019 (when the bonus was introduced) to 2021. In 2022, the bonus was increased to a maximum amount of €2,000 per child up to the age of 18. After the child's 18th birthday, a reduced bonus (€500 annually from 2019-2021, €650 annually from 2022) is available, if family allowance is received.

For single earners and single parents with a low income, who pay little or no income tax, an additional child allowance ( Kindermehrbetrag ) of up to €250 annually was granted between 2019 and 2021. From 2022 on, the amount has been increased to €550 per child. However, a prerequisite for this allowance is to be employed, i.e. to pay income tax; persons receiving unemployment benefit, emergency assistance, minimum income or a basic welfare benefit for 330 or more days in a year, are not entitled to the additional child allowance.

Use of measure

Not available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Does not apply to businesses Parents

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

Does not lie within their domain.

Views and reactions

No reactions from the employer side could be identified. As far as the employee side is concerned, organised labour (the Chamber of Labour AK and the Austrian Trade Union Federation ÖGB) appreciates the support for families, especially if it is universal and thus accessible regardless of income (as is the case with the special family allowance and the additional child allowance, but less so with the family bonus). AK and ÖGB would welcome a fundamental restructuring of family benefits in order to make family support more fair and to eliminate the current imbalance. Families with high incomes would benefit disproportionately from the family bonus, while low-income families receive comparatively low benefits.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Financial measures supporting families in the cost-of-living crisis, measure AT-2022-32/2855 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2022-32_2855.html

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