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Family And Social Policy

In comparison with most other European countries, Austria's family-related social policy expenditures are generous. The European Commission household panel (1996, cited in Giorgi 1999) found that for the poorest households, family and other transfer payments contribute a substantial part (31%) of household income. Moreover, kindergartens (where available) are highly subsidized or free. Education (including schoolbooks and travel expenses) is free up through the secondary level; university fees were not collected until 2001.

A key question in modern family policy is how women are able to combine parenthood with participation in the labor market. Few possibilities are available for flexible labor arrangements for mothers, and deficits remain in the supply of kindergartens, particularly for children under five years old and in rural areas.

In January 2002 a new type of child allowance (Kinderbetreuungsgeld) became available. The allowance (amounting to 436 euro per month, per child) is not conditional on prior employment of the parents and will be paid for three years (provided that both parents share childcare responsibilities; otherwise for two-and-a-half years). In addition, the parent (usually the mother) may be employed out of the home. The goal of this new legislation is to improve the flexibility in combining work and family tasks.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsAustria - Family Values, Sociodemographic Trends, Living Arrangements, Consequences Of Increased Life Expectancy, Family And Social Policy