For a new one: five predictions for the year 2022

Today is New Year. The year 2021 ends and with it the pages in the calendar. In view of the advancing pandemic, it is difficult to say with which events the new calendar will be filled – however, some dates are fixed. A first outlook:

Nursing reform

Representatives of large social and care organizations as well as the Federal Association of Nursing Homes pushed for reform as early as the summer. Nursing care has been struggling with acute staff shortages for years, and future financing is also an unresolved question. According to the Ministry of Social Affairs, the “target control” for the care reform should start work in January 2022.

Compulsory vaccination

From February 1st, all citizens over 14 years of age must be vaccinated in Austria. Refusals face a fine of up to 3600 euros, the law should remain in force for two years. Pregnant women and people who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons are exempt from this obligation. These must be proven by a medical certificate. The 3-G rule in the workplace remains in place despite the mandatory vaccination.

Economy

The forecasts of the economic researchers for 2022 look quite optimistic despite the Omikron variant and a possible fifth lockdown: growth of between 4.2 percent (IHS) and up to 5.2 percent (Wifo) is predicted. Although you have to take into account that these are catch-up effects: In the previous year, Austria’s economy slumped by seven percent. The justification for growth is now increasing consumption.

The money that people would have hoarded for two years would flow back into the economy – provided there was no lockdown and trade, restaurants and hotels were open. Then around eight billion euros could flow into consumption, says Wifo economist Stefan Ederer at the presentation in mid-December. The thrust is expected to flatten out in 2023, with growth of around 2.5 percent.

labour market

The economic research institutes are also optimistic about developments in the domestic labor market. A recovery is expected, the unemployment rate could still be just over seven percent in 2022. From 2023, however, it is expected to fall back below the pre-crisis level. One problem remains: The proportion of long-term unemployed among all unemployed is 25 percent.

Labor Minister Martin Kocher is therefore planning a labor market reform with a special focus on the long-term unemployed. He wants to present the package for this in March 2022. The goals: Getting more people into employment and faster job placement. So far, there has been discussion of tightening the rules of reasonableness, lowering additional earnings limits and making unemployment benefits degressive.

Tax reform

As of January 1, 2022, the tax rate for income components between EUR 18,000 and EUR 31,000 is to be reduced from 35 percent to 30 percent. This will be implemented over several levels, with a mixed tax rate of 32.5 percent from the beginning of the year. Lower incomes should be relieved through the social security bonus. With the tax return or employee assessment, a relief of up to 250 euros can be achieved. The “Family Bonus Plus” will also be increased: from 1,500 to 2,000 euros per child, the additional child amount from 250 to 450 euros per child and year.

The additional amount is extended to all low-income earners with children and paid out as negative tax. The introduction of CO2 pricing will also begin in July. A regional climate bonus is planned as a compensatory measure: The additional costs resulting from CO2 pricing are intended to be compensated at a flat rate. The bonus is between 100 and 200 euros per person, depending on the region. A surcharge of 50 percent is provided for children eligible for family allowance.

Leave a Reply