Those new regulations around the women’s retirement age in Austria, which will apply gradually from 2024, are not surprising. After all, the basis for this goes back to 1992. At that time, the Constitutional Court set the course for raising the legal retirement age with its decision. The aim was to align it with the statutory retirement age for men, i.e. 65.
At the beginning of February, the National Council and, on Thursday, the Bundesrat, with an amendment of the Social Security law key dates finally concretized and fixed. In principle applies: Between 2024 and 2033, the woman’s regular pension age will rise accordingly successively from 60 to 65 years, as Irina princess, Expertin with the audit and tax counselling company Rabel & partner, explains. The amendment has made the previous provisions obsolete – and the semi-annual increases in the retirement age have each resulted in shifts of the relevant birthdays backwards. “Women born in June and December of the cohorts December 1963 to June 1968 will benefit from this in particular. In many cases, these women will be able to take their standard pension half a year earlier – compared to the previously envisaged staggered increase in the standard retirement age.”
Specifically, the amendment set the standard retirement age for women born between January 1 and June 30, 1964, at 60.5 years. For birthdays from July 1 to December 31, 1964, the standard retirement age increases to 61. After that, this pattern continues in further six-month increments until the 1968 birth cohort (see timeline above). For women born after June 30, 1968, the standard retirement age will be 65, as it is for men.
Wolfgang Höfle, an expert at the tax consulting firm TPA, also points out that for women born in 1966 and younger, the corridor pension – albeit with deductions from the pension amount – could become an alternative.
How many women are affected?
But how many women are affected by the increased retirement age in Austria? Social Security counts more than 369,000 women with birthdays between December 2, 1963 (the first cutoff date in effect before the amendment) and June 30, 1968, who have an active pension account and have not yet retired, it says in response to a query.
Prinz points out that the current amendment to the law could lead in individual cases to “the fact that terminations of employment relationships that have already been fixed under labor law due to an impending retirement must be agreed upon anew, should retirement after the amendment to the law be possible and desired earlier than before.” This applies, for example, to cases where the increase in the standard retirement age is already effective but where the amendment now makes it possible to retire somewhat earlier.
Transitional solutions for partial retirement
Transitional provisions are provided for already agreed partial retirement arrangements that are not in line with the new cutoff dates.
The following has been in effect since 2020: “In principle, partial retirement agreements subsidized by the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS) can be concluded no earlier than five years before the regular retirement age is reached,” emphasizes expert Irina Prinz. The increase in the standard retirement age for women, which has already been fixed for some time, has already had to be planned into newly concluded partial retirement agreements. Partial retirement agreements sponsored by AMS end when the legal retirement age is reached.
Transitional solution: “Partial retirement agreements for which the above-mentioned current change in the law results in an earlier statutory retirement age than planned can be continued in the originally agreed form approved by the AMS or terminated earlier if they were approved before the change in the law came into force,” Prinz said.
Reference period. “If an application for partial retirement benefits is submitted to the AMS for partial retirement agreements with women by the end of 2023 at the latest, they can be continued for up to six months after completion of the standard retirement age.” The prerequisite for this, however, is that the maximum possible reference period of five years is not exceeded, and no pension benefits are drawn.
Tip. “If an already concluded partial retirement agreement is to be terminated earlier because the current change in the law allows retirement earlier than planned, this must be agreed with the employer,” explains Irina Prinz.