New laws and changes starting May 1, 2023 in Austria

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There are several new laws and changes again in May: The Corona mask requirement falls, but traffic fines increase—an overview.

A new month always brings new laws and changes. Also, in May 2023 are again so some. At the forefront this time is the end of the Corona mask requirement in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes, as well as stricter traffic fines if you are caught driving with a cell phone or not wearing a seat belt. But there are also many other innovations.

➤ Many banks are reacting to rising inflation and gradually increasing fees for checking accounts, ATM cards, and other services. Since the contracts are linked to the consumer price index (CPI), they can be adjusted accordingly.

Already on May 1, the costs at Austrian Post’s Bank99 will rise by 8.5 percent. Raiffeisenbank Niederösterreich-Wien, which increased fees by 10.59 percent as of April 1, is significantly higher. At Bank Austria, BAWAG, and Erste Group, customers must pay more as of July 1.

➤ As of May 1, the mandatory use of masks in hospitals, doctors’ offices, older adults’ homes, and nursing homes will be dropped. The mandatory mouth protection for visitors, employees, external service providers, and residents is history as of April 30. At the same time, the risk group exemption will also expire. Through it, people can take time off work if they are not adequately protected at work, and the home office is impossible.

➤ As of May, bringing a negative PCR test to inpatient admissions or specific outpatient exams is no longer necessary. In the event of symptoms of illness, patients will be tested during entry or asked to bring a test result.

➤ The KV minimum wages and salaries in the paper industry are increased. Actual wages and salaries will increase by 9.8 percent, with a minimum increase of 280 euros. For the lowest incomes, this means an income increase of up to 15.09 percent. In addition: apprentice income +10 percent, and travel allowances +10 percent.

➤ Employees in the electrical and electronics industry can also look forward to more money from May. Actual wages and salaries will increase by 9.9 percent – but by at least 325 euros. This minimum amount means that lower-income employees will receive up to 14.6 percent more pay. On average, this will result in a salary increase of 10.5 percent, which is higher than the negotiation basis (inflation of 9.5 percent). The new minimum wage is 2,238.66 euros. Apprentice incomes also rise by 10.5 percent and allowances by 9.9 percent.

➤ Energie Steiermark reduces natural gas bills for existing customers. As of May 1, the price of a kilowatt hour of natural gas will be reduced to 11.40 cents/kilowatt hour. This represents a reduction of 34 percent for around 4,000 customers (their current price: 17.45 ct/kWh) and a reduction of 21 percent for all other household customers (their current price: 14.40 ct/kWh).

➤ After seniors often had difficulties in recent years to still get a loan, the government recently amended the Mortgage and Real Estate Loan Act. As of May 1, seniors and people with lower life expectancy, in general, will be able to take out loans more quickly.

➤ As of May 1, you will have to pay a fine of 100 euros if you are caught driving with a cell phone; previously, you were charged 50 euros. “In the case of a report – especially fines prompted by photos of distance or speed measurements – fines of up to 140 euros are possible,” explains ÖAMTC chief lawyer Martin Hoffer. For drivers who do not wear seat belts, 50-euro fines await instead of the previous 35 euros.

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