From the statutory entitlement to paternity leave of one month (“Papamonat”) via childcare benefit through to continued payment of remuneration in case of emergency relief – the Austrian parliament adopted a number of Acts of Parliament in July. We have summarised the most important ones for you.
Recognition of parental leave in relation to claims based on the length of service
In future, periods of maternity/paternity leave must be recognised to a greater extent in relation to legal claims depending on the length of service. The (actual) periods of parental leave must be recognised for all claims based on the length of service to the extent they were actually taken, until the child’s second birthday at the latest. The law entered into force on 1 August 2019 and applies to parents whose child is born (adopted or taken into gratuitous care) on or after that date.
Legal right to the “Papamonat”
Any father must be granted one month of paternity leave upon his request, provided he lives in the same household as the child. This month of paternity leave must be taken sometime during the period extending from the birth of the child until expiry of the ban of employment applicable to the mother (normally 8 weeks after giving birth). The employer is not obliged to pay remuneration during that period, the employee may apply for a “family time” bonus from the regional health fund. The father-to-be must notify the requested leave at least three months in advance of the imputed due day (not applicable during the transition period in the coming weeks).
Special lay-off protection applies until four weeks after the end of the leave. In factual terms, the new provision already applies to births with an imputed due day in September 2019.
Clarification regarding the insurance obligation of lawyers
Lawyers who are members of the insurance scheme of their respective bar association (Uniqa group health insurance) are explicitly released from the obligation to take out health and accident insurance under the ASVG (Austrian general social security act). The amendment entered into force on 1 July 2019 and applies with retroactive effect.
Childcare benefit: improvements regarding additional earnings
As of 1 January 2020, the additional earnings limit of EUR 6,800.- per calendar year will be increased to EUR 7,300.- per calendar year.
Continued payment of remuneration in case of emergency relief
As of 1 September 2019, employees shall be legally entitled to continued payment of remuneration if they are prevented from doing their jobs due to serving as volunteer members of any emergency aid organisation, rescue service or voluntary fire brigade during any major catastrophic event or as members of a mountain rescue organisation. Continued payment of remuneration is subject to the prerequisite of the extent and timing of leave of absence being agreed with the employer.
As compensation for their expenses, employers are going to receive a premium from the disaster fund, for granting said leave and continuing to pay remuneration. For this purpose, the disaster fund act provides fund resources amounting to “a daily flat fee of EUR 200.- per employee serving as a volunteer”.
Bonus for retired persons receiving small pensions with long periods of insurance
Introduction of a bonus adding to the compensatory supplement and/or to small pensions with effect from 1 January 2020 in case of at least 30 years of contribution to statutory insurance due to gainful occupation. The new limits are
- EUR 1,080.- for individuals with 30 years of contribution to statutory insurance due to gainful occupation at the key date,
- EUR 1,315.- for individuals with at least 40 years of contribution to statutory insurance due to gainful occupation at the key date, and
- EUR 1,782.- for married couples and registered partners, equally with at least 40 years of contribution to statutory insurance due to gainful occupation at the key date, for one the spouses or registered partners.