On 27 January, Austria’s Council of Ministers promulgated new rules and tax incentives that will now govern the practice of teleworking. While the Ministry of Labor and the social partners had already reached agreement on several points (c.f. article No.12133), everyone was waiting to see how the Finance Ministry would manage the issue of tax incentives. In the end the Ministry decided that each employee will be able to deduct up to a maximum of €300 per year for teleworking related purchases of equipment and services, and that similarly, each employer’s contribution to cover these costs will also be tax deductible, up to €300. “The new rule makes it clear that the obligation for employers to cover the costs, through provision or reimbursement, explicitly concerns digital resources, telephones, laptops or Wi-Fi access,” said Wolfgang Katzian, President the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB). As part of the announced deductible lump sum, the Ministry of Finance will also include tax exemption for the part of electricity and heating costs that can be attributed to teleworking. The purchase of office furniture will also be eligible for tax relief of up to €300, however the tax relief will be calculated in proportion to the days actually spent teleworking. According to Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, these measures, which are valid until 2023, amount to some €150 million. These measures will be reviewed in 2023, the exact date for which is still to be specified. For the rest, professional insurance will continue, as it has since spring 2020, to cover accidents at home and on the way to and from school. In addition, the labor inspectorate will not have access to employees’ homes. Finally, the new Employment Minister Martin Kocher confirmed that the implementation of teleworking measures was not subject to any obligation and depended only on a written agreement between the employee and the employer. Negotiation of company-wide agreements on the matter is also possible.
Austria: government agrees new rules and incentives for teleworking
Planet Labor, 28 January 2021, n°12336 - www.planetlabor.com