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-2022-36/2854 – measures in Austria
|Country||Austria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 September 2022|
|Context||War in Ukraine|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Responses to inflation
– Increasing income in general
|Author||Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||13 September 2022 (updated 18 September 2022)|
Due to the high inflation, driven by increasing energy and food prices and supply shortages, the federal government of Austria has issued three anti-inflation packages in the course of spring and summer 2022. The latest package from August 2022 consists of several measures targeted towards compensating businesses, workers and citizens for the increasing prices (including financial measures supporting families in the cost-of-living crisis , a tax reform abolishing the “cold progression” and adjustment of social benefits to inflation , or the establishment of a housing umbrella programme for securing one’s home .
A universal measure, targeted towards compensating all persons living in Austria for the increased costs, is the increased climate bonus (which is to be paid annually) and a one-off anti-inflation bonus payment.
In October 2022, the eco-social tax reform is to come into force in Austria, which includes a CO2-tax (postponed from the originally planned starting date of 1 July 2022 due to the economic situation). In 2022, the price lies at €30 per ton of CO2; by 2025, the price will rise to €55 per ton of CO2.
The taxes thus collected are to flow back to the Austrian population in the form of a climate bonus. The climate bonus is set to be paid annually from 2022 on to all persons having their main residence in Austria for at least six months in a year. Originally, it was intended that the bonus is staggered regionally; while in urban regions with well-developed public transport, the bonus would be lowest, it would be highest in remote rural areas. When the CO2 tax is increased, the climate bonus is automatically increased as well.
With the increasing inflation and rising prices, the federal government has decided to increase the climate bonus for all eligible persons to a flat rate of €250 for adults (instead of originally lying between €100 and €200) and €125 for children up to the age of 18 years. Due to the high inflation in 2022, an additional anti-inflation bonus of €250 (€125 for children) is used to top-up the climate bonus, marking a flat-rate payment of €500 for adults and €250 for children, to be paid automatically starting in September 2022.
According to the federal government, the climate bonus is paid to around 9 million persons, with total costs ranging around €2 billion (which are partially collected via the newly implemented CO2 taxes).
|Does not apply to workers||Does not apply to businesses||Applies to all citizens|
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||No involvement as case not in social partner domain||No involvement as case not in social partner domain|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The social partners were not involved in the measure.
Organised labour (Chamber of Labour AK and the Austrian Trade Union Federation ÖGB) are generally welcoming this measure, as "in terms of distribution policy, [it] tends to be positive because the relief is independent of income and therefore has a relatively stronger effect in the lower income brackets". Furthermore, the organisations welcome that the regional gradation is no longer applied and people in urban areas are no longer disadvantaged (by receiving smaller payments).
Organised business on the other hand (Federal Economic Chamber WKO) is generally sceptical of the CO2-pricing and has proposed to postpone its implementation by one to two years. At the same time, the commerce section of the WKO welcomes that all those recipients who have not registered a bank account with the financial administration will receive the bonus in the form of vouchers, to be used at domestic companies.
Eurofound (2022), Climate bonus and inflation bonus, measure AT-2022-36/2854 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2022-36_2854.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.