§ Legal and Financial Issues

Time off for care

If one's own child or caregiver falls ill or a family member is dependent on care or nursing due to an accident, illness or advancing age, this can cause enormous stress, especially for those in employment. Whether for a short-term care assignment or for the longer-term takeover or (re)organization of the care of a close relative - initially time is needed.


Leave of absence for short-term care

Under certain conditions, employees are entitled to one week of caregiver leave to care for, look after or accompany their sick children and/or - depending on the occasion - close relatives* living in the same household. Under certain conditions, a second week of caregiver leave may be granted for a sick child under the age of 12 (extended caregiver leave).

 *Close relatives are in this case defined as direct relatives living in the same household (e.g. children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents), adopted and foster children, spouses/registered partners and cohabiting partners and their biological children as well as (regardless of the common household) own children.

Care leave and part-time work for carers

Under certain conditions, employees are entitled to take care leave ( with loss of pay) or part-time work for carers (at least 10 hours/week) for a period of one to three months for the purpose of caring for or organizing care for close relatives* with a care level of 3 or higher (or for close relatives suffering from dementia or minors from care level 1) if the employment contract has already lasted for an uninterrupted period of three months. (There are special regulations for employees with a fixed-term employment relationship in a seasonal business.) If the need for care increases by at least one care allowance level, care leave or part-time care leave can be agreed for a further period.

As of January 1, 2020, employees have a legal right to two weeks of caregiver leave/part-time caregiver leave.


*Close relatives are spouses and their children, parents, grandparents, adoptive and foster parents, children, (great) grandchildren, stepchildren, adoptive and foster children, cohabiting partners and their children, registered partners and their children, as well as siblings, parents-in-law and children-in-law.

  Important: A common household with the close relative is not required!

Under certain conditions, a care leave allowance can be granted for the duration of the care leave. (Information on this page is provided in German.)

End-of-live care leave and part-time work for end-of-live carers

Employees can apply for end-of-live care leave to accompany close relatives* in their dying days (for a maximum of 3+3 months) or to accompany seriously ill children living in the same household (for a maximum of 5+4 months). There are three possibilities:

  • Reduction of working hours
  • Changes in the working schedule

  • Complete exemption from work in return for loss of remuneration

*Close relatives are spouses and their children, parents, grandparents, adoptive and foster parents, children, (great) grandchildren, stepchildren, adoptive and foster children, partners and their children, registered partners and their children as well as siblings, parents-in-law and children-in-law.

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  Important: A common household with the close relative is not required!

For the duration of the end-of-live care leave, a care leave allowance can be applied for (Information on this page is provided in German).

In addition, under certain conditions, a subsidy may be granted under the end-of-live care leave hardship compensation fund (This page is only available in German).  A brief English overview on and explanation of this fund along with information on applications and contact can be found in the Family Guide by the Office of the Federal Chancellor (p. 62).


Possibilities for students

Leave of absence from studies

Students can take a leave of absence for the necessary care of sick close relatives who live in the same household (proof by certificate of a medical specialist and confirmation of registration of shared household) for a maximum of 2 semesters, depending on the occasion.

  Important: At the University of Innsbruck, the application must be submitted by the beginning of the semester for which the leave of absence is requested (01.10. or 01.03.)! The student fee (ÖH fee) must still be paid. During the leave of absence, no exams can be taken and no written work (e.g. bachelor's theses, diploma theses, dissertations) can be graded.

The application can be submitted via the student portal LFU:online as well as directly at the Admission Department.  For further information and the application form, please contact the Admission Department.

Exemption from tuition fees

If you exceed the scheduled period of study of a bachelor's or master's degree program, a doctoral degree program or a section of a diploma program by more than two semesters, a tuition fee in the amount of 363.36 euros must be paid for each additional semester.

The predominant care of close relatives lasting longer than two months in the semester in question is recognized as a reason for remission for a maximum of two consecutive semesters (new application possible). It is necessary to provide proof of confirmation from the doctor of the person to be cared for.

Tip: Information and advice - for example on financial support options - is also provided to students by the social department of the ÖH Innsbruck (information provided in German, consultation also possible in English). 


Financial support for care

Care Allowance

The care allowance is a lump sum which exists to cover part of the extra expenses caused by needing to care for family members and to help make it easier to live an autonomous life according to one’s own needs. A person is entitled to care allowance if they require more than 65 hours of care per month for an expected period of at least six months due to a physical, mental or psychological disability, as determined by experts. The amount of the care allowance, which is granted in seven levels, depends on the extent of the care requirement (average monthly time expenditure). The application is submitted to the responsible insurance institution/the pension insurance institution.

New: As of January 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, there will be an increase in the care allowance in all levels with the respective pension adjustment factor, which essentially covers inflation: Link Overview Innovations 2020 (only available in German).

Care Leave Allowance

In the case of care or family hospice leave respectively care or family hospice part-time leave agreed upon with the employer, there is a legal entitlement to income-dependent care leave benefits under certain conditions. This amounts to 55% of the net income in the case of complete leave, and 55% of the difference in net income before and during the leave in the case of a reduction in working hours. The application is made throughout Austria by Sozialministeriumservice - Landestelle Steiermark.

  Tip! Persons who take family hospice leave can receive a family hospice leave allowance in addition to the care leave allowance under certain conditions (information on this page is provided in German). 

Financial Support for 24-hour care

Under certain conditions, people who receive care at home can receive a subsidy for 24-hour care regardless of their assets (information on this page is provided in German). The care must be provided in accordance with the provisions of the "Hausbetreuungsgesetz" (Home Care Act). The application is made at the respective provincial office of the Social Ministry Service


Support in Case of Unavailability of Care-giving relatives

If family carers are unable to provide care due to important reasons (e.g. illness, holiday) it is possible to receive financial support from the financial support fund for people with special needs under certain conditions (for persons in need of care from care level 3, in the case of dementia and for minors from care level 1). (Information on this page is provided in German.)

Other Subsidies and Support

On the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs you will find further possibilities for financial support of measures and aids such as home and car adaptations, stair lifts, need-based communication aids, assistance dogs, etc. (unfortunately German only). You will also find information on the exemption of prescription and broadcasting fees, the green electricity flat rate, the free motorway tax sticker and the increased family allowance.

Tip: Students with care responsibilities can also obtain information and advice on financial support options from the ÖH's Social Services Department (information provided in German, consultation also possible in English). 

The state of Tyrol subsidizes various services for stationary and mobile care, day care and short-term care and grants subsidies for care aids, adaptation of living space, etc.

The city of Innsbruck grants various aids in case of social hardship, such as financing of care home costs and subsidies for the needs-based conversion of wet rooms and other aids for people with disabilities..

 

Tax tips for family caregivers can be found on the website of the Chamber of Labor (information only available in German).

Family caregivers can voluntarily insure themselves for pension benefits without paying contributions. In order to continue to be covered by health insurance, there is the possibility of co-insurance or self-insurance. The Ministry of Social Affairs provides a good overview (unfortunately only in German)..

 

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