General Information about Childcare Allowance for Births from 1 March 2017 Onwards

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There are new regulations concerning childcare allowance for parents whose children were born from 1 March 2017 onwards. The flat-rate system has turned into a central childcare allowance account ["Kinderbetreuungsgeld-Konto"] whereas the income-related system remains in force.

PLEASE NOTE
Parents can apply for childcare allowance, at the earliest, on the day of birth. If you have chosen a system and have already applied for the allowance, you can only switch to the other system within 14 days from the date of first application. The chosen system is also binding for the other parent. There are no exemptions from this legal regulation!

Each system has different effects on the additional earnings limit, additional benefits such as the multiple child bonus or supplements etc. Therefore it is recommended to evaluate the differences between the systems in order to choose the best possible system.

The amount of childcare allowance is based upon the payment scheme you have chosen. You may choose between the following options:

Childcare Allowance Account [Kinderbetreuungsgeld-Konto] (Flat-Rate Childcare Allowance)

There are general prerequisites which have to be fulfilled in order to claim the flat-rate childcare allowance.

For children born from 1 March 2017 onwards, the flat-rate option is organized as a childcare allowance account:

Amount

14.53 Euro up to 33.88 Euro per day (depending on the chosen duration of allowance)

The monthly amount may vary slightly depending on whether the month has 31, 30, 29 or 28 days.

Duration of Allowance

  • If one parent claims childcare allowance:
    365 days up to 851 days from the date of birth of the child
  • If both parents claim childcare allowance:
    456 days up to 1,063 days from the date of birth of the child
    Any parent's claim duration (block) must be at least 61 days throughout. 20 percent of the overall duration of entitlement concerning a child are reserved for the other parent. There is no possibility of transferring this part of the entitlement period. Parents may alternate claims no more than twice, so that there are no more than three payment blocks.

Switching to a Different Option

Every chosen claim duration (e.g. 365, 366 or 367 days etc.) corresponds to an option.

Under specific conditions, parents can change their option once per child. Thus they are treated as if they had chosen this option right from the start. In this case the daily amount of allowance can change for past periods, but not the reference periods. The decision to switch to a different option is binding for the other parent. A corresponding application must be filed in a timely manner. For further information please contact your health insurance fund [Krankenkasse] prior to the application process.

There are general prerequisites as well as specific prerequisites which have to be fulfilled in order to claim the income-related childcare allowance.

Specific Prerequisites 

  • Applicants must have been engaged in an activity which is subject to mandatory health and pension insurance in Austria non-stop during the 182 calendar days immediately preceding the birth of the child or maternity protection [Mutterschutz].
  • Applicants must not have received any unemployment insurance benefits (e.g. unemployment benefit [Arbeitslosengeld], unemployment assistance [Notstandshilfe], education benefits [Weiterbildungsgeld] etc.) during this period of time.
  • Interruptions of this activity lasting up to 14 days in total are of no relevance.
  • Being on sick leave or on holiday does not count as interrupting one's activity as long as the employment relationship continues and there is continued pay during this time.

The following periods of time are considered equal to such an activity:

  • Maternity protection [Mutterschutz] and maternity leave [Karenz] according to the Mutterschutzgesetz (up to an older child's 2nd birthday), if the employment relationship continues during this period, or
  • Paternity leave [Väterkarenz] according to the Väterkarenzgesetz (up to an older child's 2nd birthday), if the employment relationship continues during this period, or
  • Similar periods of time in the case of self-employed people, traders and farmers (temporary interruptions of this activity for the purpose of child-raising up to the child's 2nd birthday, e.g. by reporting one's trade licence as suspended, however not by surrendering one's trade licence),

as long as an activity which is subject to mandatory health and pension insurance in Austria was performed non-stop during the 182 calendar days immediately preceding this period of time.

Both parents are restricted to the chosen income-related childcare allowance system.

Income-related childcare allowance is available as follows:

Amount

  • 80 percent of last income,
    up to a maximum of 66 Euro per day (approximately 2,000 Euro per month)
  • For recipients of maternity allowance [Wochengeld]:
    employed persons, the self-employed, farmers, contract civil service staff, independent contractors, persons in marginal employment with self-insurance:
    Income-related childcare allowance is 80 percent of maternity allowance. In addition, the health insurance fund [Krankenkasse] carries out further calculations (most favourable rate approach). As a result the daily rate calculated as indicated above can only increase, but not be reduced.
  • For civil servants [Beamtinnen]:
    Income-related childcare allowance is 80 percent of a fictitious maternity allowance of a contract civil servant [Vertragsbedienstete]. In addition, the health insurance carries out further calculations (most favourable rate approach). As a result the daily rate calculated as indicated above can only increase, but not be reduced.
  • For fathers, adoptive and foster parents:
    Income-related childcare allowance is 80 percent of a fictitious maternity allowance. In these cases an eight-week period before the birth of the child is relevant instead of the protection period [Schutzfrist]. Please note: Salary components which cannot be payed to pregnant women (e.g. because of employee protection regulations) are not included in this calculation. In addition, the health insurance fund carries out further calculations (most favourable rate approach). As a result the daily rate calculated as indicated above can only increase, but not be reduced.
  • For all other people:
    The income from employment due to an existing employment relationship (thus not from pensions etc.), from self-employed work, from industrial or commercial activities or from agriculture and forestry stated in the tax notice is used as a basis. The relevant tax notice is the one from the calendar year prior to the birth of the child. This also applies to further children.
  • Most favourable rate approach:
    Please note that a tax notice might only exist after a tax assessment has been carried out!
    The following formula is used for the most favourable rate approach:
    (Sum of relevant earnings x 0.62 + 4000) divided by 365

    If the calculated daily rate is less than 33.88 Euro and all other prerequisites are met, an income-related childcare allowance of 33.88 Euro per day is granted as a special benefit upon application.

Duration of Allowance

  • If one parent claims childcare allowance:
    Not longer than 365 days following the birth of the child
  • If both parents claim childcare allowance:
    Not longer than 426 days following the birth of the child
    One parent may draw childcare allowance for a maximum period of 365 days. Parents may alternate claims no more than twice, so that there are no more than three payment blocks. Any parent's claim duration (block) must be at least 61 days throughout.

Suspension

The Childcare Allowance is as a rule suspended while maternity benefit or a similar benefit (e.g. continued remuneration for civil servants) is received. It is also suspended while temporary help [Betriebshilfe] is received after the birth; therefore, childcare allowance is paid only after the period of maternity protection [Mutterschutz]. Please note that the claim duration is not prolonged in this case!

Childcare Allowance for More than One Child

Childcare allowance is always awarded for the youngest child only. If another child is born while a parent is receiving childcare allowance, payment for the older child will end one day before the birth of the younger child. A new application must be made for the newborn child and the allowance will be paid for this child. The same rule applies for adopted children and foster children.

PLEASE NOTE
Birth of another child must be reported to the department responsible for childcare allowance at one's health insurance fund [Gebietskrankenkasse] without delay! Childcare allowance that has been unduly received for an older child has to be repaid.

For parents who have chosen the childcare allowance account system [Kinderbetreuungsgeld-Konto] childcare allowance is increased by 50 percent of the daily rate for the second and each additional child in the case of multiple births. The daily rate results from the selected claim duration. For twins, the daily rate is one and a half times the basic rate, for triplets it is twice the basic rate etc.

All the prerequisites must be met regarding every child in order to draw the increased childcare allowance.

Income-related childcare allowance is not increased in the case of multiple births.

Childcare Allowance and Employment

Parental Leave

Mothers/fathers in employment (i.e. workers or employees) are entitled to maternity/paternity leave. This means that they are granted leave of absence from their workplace but receive no salary. The law provides a right to maternity/paternity leave until the day before the child's second birthday. A minimum of two months maternity or paternity leave must be taken.

Further information about "Maternity/Paternity Leave" [Elternkarenz] can be found on the German website at HELP.gv.at.

Part-Time Employment

Mothers/fathers may also opt to work part time provided certain conditions are met. This does not depend on having previously taken maternity/paternity leave.

Further information regarding the circumstances under which there is an entitlement to part-time employment and the circumstances under which such an arrangement can be agreed as well as further informationGerman text on this topic can be found on the German website at HELP.gv.at.

Childcare Allowance and Social Insurance

Health Insurance

Recipients of childcare allowance are basically covered by health insurance. Therefore, a separate application for health insurance is not necessary.

PLEASE NOTE
Health insurance coverage derived from the receipt of childcare allowance ends when childcare allowance is no longer drawn.

Pension Insurance

As of 1 January 2005, parents acquire contributory years for the purpose of their pension insurance during the first four years of the child's life (five years in the case of a multiple birth).

Last update: 27.07.2017
Please note
Approved by
Federal Chancellery – HELP Editorial Staff
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