Compensation for the financial burden of having a family
The Austrian system of compensation for the financial burden of having a family is conceived as a horizontal compensation structure, which means a balance between parents obliged to maintain their children and persons without maintenance obligations. Those maintenance costs which are caused by providing for and looking after children should be compensated for.
The "Minister of Family" is responsible for matters pertaining to family equalisation.
The central financing instrument is the Family Burdens Equalisation Fund. The legal foundation is provided by the Family Burden Equalisation Act 1967.
Family benefits in the form of financial benefits and benefits in kind as well as the reimbursement of various costs are provided from the Family Burden Equalisation Fund.
Financing (organisation) of the Family Burden Equalisation Fund
Financing is carried out via a "mixed system".
The most important source of funding for the Family Burden Equalisation Fund is the employer’s contribution; from a fiscal point of view this is actually a tax, whereby all employers have to pay 3.7 (in special cases 3,9) per cent of the gross wages of their employees. General tax revenue is also used for financing, whereby certain proportions have to be contributed from income tax and corporation tax revenue. Additionally agricultural and forestry entities have to pay certain contributions.
Reserve Fund for Family Benefits
Surpluses from the operations of the Family Burdens Equalisation Fund flow into the Reserve Fund for Family Benefits, which is administered by the Federal Minister for Women, Family, Integration and Media. The funding held in the Reserve Fund for Family Benefits are earmarked for covering possible missing amounts from the operation of the Family Burden Equalisation Fund. Should the means of the Reserve Fund for Family Benefits be exhausted, any possible missing amount has to be covered by federal government funding.
The resources of the Family Burden Equalisation Fund are earmarked for the expenditure which is caused by the benefits provided according to the Family Burden Equalisation Act 1967.
Reimbursement of costs, which are provided from family burdens equalisation:
- Family hardship fund
- Family hospice leave – hardship fund
- Mother-child pass examinations
- Support of family counselling offices
- Parental education and mediation
- Research on the subject of families
- The compatibility of family life and work
- Contributions for in-vitro fertilisation
- Advance maintenance payments
- Contributions for accident insurance for schoolchildren and students
- Contributions towards maternity allowance / Betriebshilfe (a corresponding allowance for self-employed mothers and women farmers)
- Pension contributions for people who look after severely disabled children
- Pension contributions for fictitious qualifying periods when raising children
- Health insurance contributions when drawing child care allowance
- Severance pay contributions for certain fictitious qualifying periods