In response to the request by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament in view of its delegation visit in early May 2018, the European Centre compiled a medium briefing note on Social and employment policies in Austria.
Recent and current employment policies include the reduction of non-wage labour costs, measures reducing gender inequality in the labour market, measures for the employment of both younger and older employees as well as persons with disabilities, and measures for the labour market integration of refugees. Most notable among education and training-related policies for young people is the government’s ‘Compulsory Education or Training’ initiative and the related ‘EducationTraining till 18’ programme.
Under the Agenda for New Skills for New Jobs, Austria is implementing a broad set of policy measures that revolves around the following key priorities: modernising school education, continuous upgrading of vocational education and training, promoting adult education and life-long learning, and tackling inequalities. The emergence of new forms of employment such as crowd-working and online platforms raises several questions in terms of job security, earnings and working conditions. This topic is specifically addressed in the upcoming presidency of the EU in Austria.
Recent measures targeting a better work-life balance focused on the further flexibilization of the childcare benefit, the introduction of an additional care leave and the extension of institutional childcare.
Austria features a comparably high level of social security. Ongoing challenges relate to the provision of pensions between social security and financial sustainability as well as in the financing and provision of long-term care and minimum income benefit.
According to the Ministry for Social Affairs the revision of the posting directive represents an improvement but did not solve the problems related to competitive inequalities and withholding of social insurance contributions.
The Austrian Presidency is designed as ‘working presidency’ with a view on the European elections in May 2019. Apart from the completion of ongoing legal acts and the negotiation of announced proposals major challenges are represented by negotiations related to the perennial financial framework after 2020 and the Brexit. Important future employment and social policy measures listed in the programme 2017-2022 by the new government include:
The Briefing Note can be downloaded here.