Increase employee salaries, training more attractive: reforming care provided

Ö / OÖ. On Thursday – International Nurses Day – the federal government introduced a nursing care reform package. With a billion euros invested in the next two years, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (the Greens) talks about the biggest care reform package in recent decades. Feedback from Upper Austria is largely positive.

The package includes 20 procedures, job placement, training for people in need of care and caring for relatives. It was introduced by Health Minister Rauch, ÖVP social spokesman August Wöginger and President of the Greens Club Sigrid Maurer.

Salary bonus for employees

Among other things, employees will receive a monthly salary over the next two years. While training in the nursing profession, each individual must receive a subsidy of 600 euros per month. Those who transfer or return to work receive a higher nursing grant of €1,400 per month. From 2023 there should be 1,500 euros for caring relatives if they support someone in need of care and they are self-insured or continue to be insured.

“With about 1 billion euros by the end of the legislative period, we are improving the framework conditions for people working in care. We are making training more attractive. We support people who need care and we relieve caring relatives. People who work in care have had for a while. Long on these improvements, Rauch says this massive sponsorship package is an important step in that direction.

Nursing training

Vogginger announced that vocational training in nursing will be offered as a pilot project, which should start with the 2023/24 academic year and be evaluated after seven years. “We have put in place a good package that will cover the need for an additional 76,000 caregivers by 2030.”

Club president Maurer is convinced that “the major breakthrough in welfare reform is also an important success of the equal opportunity policy”.

The package will be implemented step by step, and financial improvements to 24-hour care are planned, but these improvements have yet to be finalized by the social partners.

Improvements at a glance

Measures for the nursing profession

  • In 2022 and 2023, the federal government provides a total of 520 million euros for more salaries. Payment is expected to be made as a monthly stipend. The salary bonus is initially limited to two years until other necessary exemption measures come into effect.
  • An additional relief week for nursing staff starting on the 43rd birthday should ensure more stages of recovery
  • Facilitating the migration of trained professionals: it is easier for you to get the red, white and red card
  • Specialty Extensions for Nursing Assistants: In the future, for example, they will be able to deliver syringes and give injections. The planned phase-out of nursing assistant work in hospitals will be phased out from the beginning of 2025.

improvements in nursing education

  • Those who undertake their first training in the nursing profession receive training support of at least 600 euros per month or per month of training. There is a nursing grant of at least €1,400 per month for people who transfer and return to work during AMS-funded vocational training.
  • For young people, there will be vocational training in nursing throughout Austria, initially as a pilot project. You will last four or three years and end with an apprenticeship as a nursing assistant or nursing assistant.

Measures for those in need of kinship care and care (including 24-hour care)

  • There is an increase in the provision for care for people with severe mental disabilities and dementia. This means that an additional 20 hours per month are available for care and support.
  • In the future, there will be a statutory entitlement to three months of care leave instead of the previous month. The prerequisite is that this legal right is provided in a collective or corporate agreement.
  • The increased family allowance is no longer an offset for the care allowance.
  • Relative bonus €1,500 as of 2023 for the person who provides most of the care in the home and is or is still insured. According to conservative estimates, about 30,000 people in Austria will receive this bonus.
  • The planned improvements to 24-hour support are still being worked out in detail.

Feedback from Upper Austria: ÖVP delighted

“Financial incentives in training, salary bonus for employees and bonus for relatives are important measures to make the nursing profession more attractive and to recognize the achievements of employees and interested relatives,” Deputy Health Minister Christine Haberlander and State Social Councilor Wolfgang Hatmannsdorfer (both ÖVP) commented on the announced reform.

Haberlander expects the package to have a positive impact on the attractiveness of the training and career profile in hospitals. Hatmannsdorfer now sees care at the top of the federal government’s agenda — one thing is clear: care requires a joint effort by the federal, state and local governments.

FPÖ: Money should not leak into the system

Upper Austrian Federation Vice-President Manfred Heimbuchner responded: “A well-founded assessment of the reform can only be made when it is actually carried out, because at the moment it is nothing more than a newspaper headline.” The problems in the Austrian health system, which also affect the field of care, are more diverse and far-reaching than the federal government suggests, emphasizes Michael Rammel, city councilor for health in Linz. A comprehensive approach to public health is needed, the incompetent, and useless “billion fantasies of Rauch” must be found if it seeps into the system.

Green: “Milestone”

Green County spokesperson, Stefan Kinder, sees the reform introduced as “a milestone for safe, high-quality care in Austria”. Now officials in Upper Austria have to put the package into action, Kinder as well as Green demanded care spokeswoman Ulrich Schwarz.

Senior Citizens’ Association: A big step in the right direction

“With this care reform, which includes a wide range of measures to improve the situation of employees in particular, a huge step in the right direction is finally being taken,” stressed the President of the Association of Senior Citizens of Upper Austria Josef Boehringer and Director of State Franz Ebner. The introduction of nursing apprenticeships has been particularly positive in this context. Even with the relief of nearly a million interested relatives in Austria, the long-term demands of the Association of Senior Citizens of Upper Austria would be met. “At the same time, we hope the second sponsorship package that has already been announced won’t be too long into the future,” Boehringer said.

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