Austrian women facing large gaps between employment and pension

Many women in Austria currently face a large gap between the end of their working life and receiving their old-age pension, a new study has found.

A joint study between the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and the Working Life Research Centre (FORBA) titled, Exit from the Labour Market, Retirement and Raising the Retirement Age for Women from 2024 Onwards, found that in the accommodation and catering sectors, and in other economic services, only one-third of women transfer directly from active employment to an old-age pension.

Two-thirds of women retiring from large enterprises directly go on to receive their old-age pension, whereas, for companies with less than 10 employees, the figure is only one third.

The study found that the care, nursing, retail and cleaning sectors are not prepared for the increase in the retirement age in 2024. Furthermore, it found that unemployed women who are not yet old enough for their pension have little chance of finding a new job or being able to work until the age of 60, mainly due to health problems and age.

In addition, a survey that was part of the study found that women know very little about the Austrian pension system. This means they cannot take advantage of advantageous provisions, leading to a negative effect on their pension benefits, which are usually low already.

Furthermore, the study found that many female workers do not know of the possibility to work beyond the statutory retirement age, receiving pension supplements and, at the same time, paying lower pension insurance contributions. Therefore, the study said target-group-specific and repeated information offers are required for female employees.

In 2024, the statutory retirement age for women will begin to be gradually increased from the current age of 60 to 65 for those born between 2 December 1963 and 1 June 1968. The starting age increases by six months in half-year steps. For women born after 2 June 1968, the starting age for normal old-age pension is the same as that of men; it is at the age of 65. This age limit applies equally to all women and men from the second half of 2033.

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