Service for job seekers and companies
Job placement in Austria is regulated in the Labour Market Promotion Act (Arbeitsmarktförderungsgesetz, AMFG), and is carried out on behalf of the government by the Public Employment Service (AMS). Apart from the Public Employment Service, various companies and institutions are also allowed to carry out job placement.
Unemployment insurance is part of statutory social insurance. Its main function is to provide an income to unemployed people while they are looking for work.
The Unemployment Insurance Act regulates statutory unemployment insurance as well as the conditions for claiming unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance (for example the necessary insurance periods for entitlement, rules on how it is assessed whether someone is unemployed, the calculation and amount of unemployment benefit / unemployment assistance, for how long it can be claimed etc.).
In Austria, the Public Employment Service (AMS) is responsible for the provision of services according to the Unemployment Insurance Act.
Unemployment insurance for salaried employees and non-standard contract holdersEmployees and those on non-standard contracts (quasi-freelancers) who are subject to compulsory health insurance are principally also insured against unemployment. The insurance amount is 6% of the wage or salary, whereby employer and employee each pay half. It is collected by the health insurance funds via the employer.
The Public Employment Service (AMS) provides a wide range of support offers and subsidies. Not only job seekers and companies receive subsidies, certain organisations (e.g. training facilities, non-profit associations) can also be granted subsidies if they offer relevant programmes.
Additional subsidies are available from the European Social Fund. In line with the Europe 2020 Strategy, this is intended to increase labour market participation, reduce school dropout rates and combat poverty.
The goals of labour market support schemes
According to the Public Employment Service Act (Sections 29 and 34), the AMS should provide services for people to support them in the following:
- Overcoming cost-related obstacles to taking up work
- Undergoing vocational initial or further training or preparation for taking up a job
- (Re-)integration into the labour market
- Keeping hold of a job
The tasks of labour market support schemes
Labour market support schemes fundamentally have the task of balancing out disadvantages which people suffer from on the labour market. The main target groups are therefore:
- Persons who have not had any occupational training, or training which is not (or no longer) useful
- Young people with problems entering the labour market
- Those returning to work after interruptions
- Persons who have been on the margins of working life for a longer period
- Persons with disabilities which reduce their employability
- Older persons
- Employees affected by structural changes
There is no legal entitlement to labour market policy subsidies.
Labour market support measures
Subsidised vocational skills training programmes offer an opportunity to learn specialist abilities as well as so-called key competences.
Important types of measures are:
- Active job seeking measures: conveying skills directly related to job seeking (application training, self-marketing, getting a job etc.)
- Orientation measures: help with making careers decisions and career planning, or also acquiring initial practical experience and special job-entry help for young people
- Training measures: combination of productive work and needs-oriented support as well as skills training for the long-term unemployed and groups of persons who are difficult to place
- Further training measures: providing entry-level and additional skills and qualifications (e.g. CAD courses, waitering/waitressing or welding courses)
- Training measures: the acquisition of state-recognised school and vocational qualifications (e.g. intensive training for skilled workers or external secondary school examination preparation courses)
The promotion and/or subsidisation of employment is an important strategy in order to enable persons who are disadvantaged on the labour market to participate in working life (again) and to ensure employment in times of crisis (short-time working).
To support the (re)integration of groups of persons who are disadvantaged, the AMS grants temporary subsidies for employment relationships, whereby a differentiation is made between the reintegration instruments related to individual employment relationships and in-work top-up benefits on the one hand and project-oriented employment measures on the other:
Integration benefit is a temporary subsidy towards non-wage labour costs in return for hiring long-term unemployed persons and those threatened or affected by long-term unemployment.
In work top-up benefit is designed to create an incentive for the unemployed to also take on work with low wages: those who take on a job of at least 20 hours a week which is fully subject to compulsory insurance receive - for the duration of the employment relationship (for a maximum of one year) - the difference between the net income from employment and the unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance they were last due plus a top-up of 30%. For unemployed persons aged 59 and over who have been registered as unemployed for longer than 182 days or who have concluded certain programmes or occupational rehabilitation or have received rehabilitation benefit, this in-work benefit can also be granted for up to three years.
Within the framework of social enterprises (non-profit employment projects and socio-economic companies), temporary jobs are set up for persons who cannot be directly placed in the labour market. The range of offers includes employment, skills training and socio-educational support.
Quality assurance and the evaluation of labour market support measures
As the funding for active labour market policy increases, the responsibility of public authorities to use it in as effective a way as possible also rises.
The Labour Market Division of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection regularly has evaluations of the effect and efficiency of the most important types of active labour market policy measures carried out. This ensures that the skills training and retraining offered meets the needs of employers as well as those of employees.
According to studies, job seekers who have taken advantage of a skills training programme feel better supported in their search for work than the recipients of other types of support. After concluding the course they consider their chances of getting a job to be higher than before - and their chances really do increase.