Austria pursues a comprehensive social policy which is based on a wide-ranging and tightly-meshed network of social benefits. The goal of Austrian social policy is to counteract risks such as poverty, violence or social exclusion. To this end, alongside support systems such as social insurance, there are a range of other priorities, which include:
- Active senior citizens' policy
- Measures for the prevention of violence
- Support for voluntary work
- Promotion of corporate social responsibility
- Activities to reduce social inequalities, such as family benefits, social compensation and new social projects (e.g. the social impact bond).
The Austrian social welfare system is divided up between the federal government, the provinces and local authorities. General and social insurance benefits and services are the responsibility of the federal government, while the provinces, local authorities and towns/cities are responsible for a large part of the health care system, housing, social services, child care and the means-tested minimum income.
Numerous non-state parties are involved in the creation of social legislation in Austria and play a key role in the process of the formation of political opinions and policies. The most important among them are the Chamber of Labour (AK), the Economic Chamber (WKO) and the Chamber of Agriculture (LK), the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) and Federation of Austrian Industries (IV).
Last but not least, the institutions of the European Union provide important impulses for the further development of the social security system.
Before action is taken with regard to national social security issues, the social partners are consulted. The latter endeavour to reach consensus-based solutions which are frequently a good basis for legislative arrangements.
In the menu item Socio-political Analyses, there is current data on the Austria welfare state ranging from surveys on the income situation of Austrians to data on the risk of poverty and socio-political comparisons to other states.Studies on social policy themes round off the online information offered by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection for its specialist public.