Updated Social Security Agreement for Australia and Austria
An updated social security agreement between Australia and Austria will take effect from March 2017.
Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said under existing arrangements, our Social Security Agreement with Austria currently generates pension flows from Austria to Australia of about $14.1 million a year covering almost 3,800 people. At the same time, Australia pays almost 1,000 people under the Agreement about $5.5 million a year.
“The update to the agreement, which applies from 1 March 2017, has the full support of both the Australian and Austrian Governments and reflects changes that have occurred in both countries’ welfare systems since the Agreement commenced in 1992,” the Minister said.
“The revised Agreement will make it easier for businesses operating in both countries by simplifying compulsory social security contributions in Austria and superannuation contributions in Australia,” the Minister said.
“Australian workers seconded to Austria won’t be required to make social security contributions from their salary in Austria, provided their employer makes superannuation contributions in Australia. Similarly, the employers of Austrian workers seconded to Australia won’t be required to make Superannuation Guarantee contributions in Australia, provided social security contributions are being made in Austria. This is a common sense approach which will make it easier for businesses exchanging staff between our two countries for short working engagements.”
The portability period of Disability Support Pension (DSP) for non-severely disabled persons will be reduced from 13 weeks to four weeks which, reflecting the period that has applied in Australia since January 2015. The lower portability period only applies to those granted payments after the updated Agreement takes effect.
Changes to the Agreement also include a revision of how payments are backdated between the two countries. For example, if a person makes a claim for a pension in Austria they may be able to receive a backdated payment if they had made a previous claim in Australia within a 12 month period, and vice versa. This is consistent with the Agreement’s cost-sharing principle.
For Austria, amendments included are consistent with European Union (EU) regulations on the free movement of EU citizens and calculation of pensions. It also allows for periods of coverage in another country with which Austria has an agreement to be included, if necessary, to meet the minimum contributory period required for an Austrian pension.
The Agreement includes transitional provisions to ensure that persons paid under the provisions of the previous agreement continue to receive the same benefits at the same rate.
Australia has 30 Social Security Agreements, including with Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.
For further information on Australia’s social security agreement with Austria visit: https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/international/international-social-security-agreements/current-international-social-security-agreements/social-security-agreement-between-australia-and-austria