Social welfare & health system in Austria
Excellent healthcare provided by medical professionals and institutes providing state-of-the-art medical services along with a dense network of public and private hospitals ensure that the health care system in Austria is one of the best in the world.
The social security and welfare system in Austria
Austria’s social services such as minimum benefits as well as social insurance and pension benefits contribute to a very high level of social security for the country’s inhabitants. Together with France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Sweden, Austria ranks among the eight countries investing more than one quarter of their gross domestic product in social expenditures. This is clearly higher than the OECD average of 20.1 percent.
The social insurance system in Austria is characterised by a mix of central and decentralised components. The social insurance system is dominated by legally mandated social insurance benefits as well as universal services for the entire population, regardless of any proven neediness. Part of the healthcare system, public housing, a large proportion of social services, childcare facilities and minimum income are regional competencies i.e. in the hands of the federal states, municipalities and cities.
Austria features a particularly well-developed system of cooperation among the large economic interest groups of employers and employees and with the government. The Austrian social partnership makes a significant contribution to economic growth and social peace in Austria thanks to its ability to achieve a consensus, the reconciliation of interests and a coordinated approach.
The Austrian social insurance system
The Austrian social insurance system represents a mandatory insurance scheme. Contributions are paid by the employers on behalf of all employees and if applicable on behalf of their relatives as well (source link: wko.at). Self-employed people with a trade license, new self-employed persons and contractors must pay their social security contributions themselves. The statutory contributions of employed persons (workers and freelancers) are automatically deducted by the employers and paid to the tax office. Employers are also responsible for registering their employees with the social insurance system.
The amount of contributions to be paid i.e. the so-called contribution rates varies depending upon which group of employees an individual is assigned, for example wage earners, salary earners, apprentices, marginally employed workers etc.
The Austrian social insurance system consists of several different pillars:
Health insurance (Krankenversicherung)
Encompasses maternity leave. Health insurance benefits include assuming the costs of medical treatment, hospitalisation, medical check-ups, childcare allowances, sickness benefits etc.
Under certain conditions, family members are insured free of charge.
Work accident insurance (Unfallversicherung)
Work accident insurance (Unfallversicherung), providing coverage in case of occupational accidents and diseases and their consequences e.g. invalidity and disablement.
Pension insurance (Pensionsversicherung)
Pension insurance (Pensionsversicherung), e.g. retirement benefits.
Unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung)
Unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung) encompassing benefits in case of unemployment such as unemployment benefits and emergency assistance.
Every salaried employee automatically pays into unemployment insurance. If you lose your job, Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) pays for your social insurance until you find new employment.