Medium briefing note: Social and employment policies in Austria

EP Briefing Note AT


Michael Fuchs


Sonila Danaj, Eszter Z├│lyomi


Birgit Rasehorn, Inbas (Belgium)


Inbas (Belgium)


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.


  • Analysis of recent developments in employment and related policies
  • Analysis of recent development in social affairs and related policies
  • Mapping of priorities of the upcoming Austrian Presidency of the EU in the field of employment and social affairs and of other relevant initiatives in the pipeline


  • Literature Analysis
  • Data Analysis
  • Expert Interviews


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:

  • Relief of factor labour, securing demand for skilled labour;
  • Less restrictive legal framework for working time regulations;
  • Evaluation of the law on the employment of foreign nationals;
  • Introduction of a family tax credit (Familienbonus) in 2019;
  • Rearrangement of unemployment benefit, -assistance and minimum income benefit;
  • 'Stop of in-migration' into the welfare state.

The Briefing Note can be downloaded here.

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Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, European Parliament


03/2018 – 04/2018