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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

Everything that changes about life in Austria in January 2022

These are the tax, law and other changes to be aware of in Austria in the first month of 2022.

Working with coffee
Have an organised start to 2022 by keeping on top of these changes. Photo: Green Chameleon/Unsplash

Single Johnson & Johnson vaccine no longer valid as proof of full vaccination

From January 3rd, a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will no longer be considered as full vaccination for the purposes of entry into Austria or the domestic 2G and 3G rules. 

This means anyone who has only received one dose of the J&J vaccine should get a booster as soon as possible.

Tax changes

On January 1st, the second level of wage and income tax (payable on income between €18,000 to €31,000) will decrease from 35 to 32.5 percent. In 2023 it will decrease further to 30 percent. 

This is a change from earlier plans for the law, which would have seen this level of tax reduced to 30 percent in July, but this is more complicated for payroll and accounting, so instead the smaller reduction is taking place earlier and affected earners will see the extra money in their paycheck from this month.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about paying tax in Austria

Austria’s climate citizens assembly gets started

Austria’s new citizens assembly for the climate will begin work in January, with two meetings scheduled for the 15th and 16th of the month. Statistics Austria selected 100 people to represent the nation, who will be assisted in their work by 15 scientists.

The assembly should have started in November but was postponed due to the pandemic. Further meetings are planned for February, March, April, May and June, taking place in Vienna and Salzburg, and the idea is that the assembly helps develop climate proposals. Other people in Austria will get the chance to have their say through online participation.

Public holiday on January 6th

The first public holiday of the year — and the first chance of a long weekend by taking one day of annual leave as a ‘bridge day’ — comes on Thursday, January 6th. In case you missed it, The Local has a guide to maximising your annual leave in Austria.

Back to school

Schools reopen in Austria on January 10th, after some regions decided to stay closed on January 7th last autumn and the decision was made nationwide later in the winter.

To begin with, all students including those fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will need to take Covid tests three times per week, at least one of them (two in some regions) being a PCR test.

READ ALSO: 11 Austrian life hacks that will make you feel like a local

Salary increases

Workers in several industries will see their wages increase thanks to changes to collective agreements often effective from January 1st. For retail workers for example, an average 2.8 wage increase was agreed (which rises to 3.51 percent for those in the lowest wage bracket) so that a minimum monthly salary of €1,700 gross now applies. Those working as civil servants will see an average 3 percent increase, with 3.22 percent rises for the lowest earners.

Water, sewage and waste disposal costs rise in Vienna

Fees for water, garbage and sewage costs are set to increase in Vienna. Owners or landlords of buildings are liable for these costs, rather than renters in Austria. The average increase is estimated by the council at €2.45 for an average household of three people and €1.07 for an average single person household.

Assisted dying becomes legal

This change comes into effect from January 1st. Adults who are terminally ill or suffer from a permanent, debilitating condition will be able to access help ending their own lives.

Two doctors will have to assess each case, one of whom must be qualified in palliative medicine. Among their duties will be to determine whether the patient is capable of coming to the decision independently.

In addition, at least 12 weeks will have to pass before access is granted to make sure euthanasia is not being sought due to a temporary crisis. This period will be shortened to two weeks for patients in the terminal phase of an illness.

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For members

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Camping in Austria can be a lot of fun, but what are the rules? Here’s everything you need to know about setting up camp in the Alpine republic.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about camping in Austria

Waking up beside a lake or surrounded by mountains is a dream Austrian holiday for many, but it’s important to know the rules about camping before heading off with a tent or campervan.

As the summer season approaches, here’s everything you need to know about camping in Austria.

Is wild camping legal in Austria?

Wild camping – setting up camp outside of a designated campsite – is generally illegal in Austria. This applies to both camping in a tent or sleeping in a van on the side of the road.

Exceptions to this rule do exist but usually only if the municipal authority grants a temporary exception, for example for a school trip or a youth club activity.

A bivouac (temporary camp without cover) is allowed in the event of bad weather or injury, but planned wild camping in the mountains is illegal. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the rules for wild camping in Austria?

There are some regional differences though.

In the states of Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Styria there are no laws strictly forbidding camping outside of campsites, but local authorities can prohibit it and take action if necessary.

The strictest rules apply in national parks, nature reserves and special protection areas across Austria, so check before you plan your camping trip that your spot is not located in one of these areas.  

In most cases, if someone is caught camping illegally in Austria it is considered as an administrative offence and a fine can be issued, ranging from €5 to €500, depending on the location.

Camping in the forest

Camping in the forest is prohibited everywhere in Austria by law (specifically Section 33 of the Forest Act). The only exception is when you have the consent of the landowner.

Camping above the tree line

In Upper Austria and Styria you are allowed to camp in the mountains above the tree line, as long as you are outside of pasture areas.

In Vorarlberg this is also permitted, although the mayor of a municipality can prohibit the setting up of tents outside approved campsites if the interests of safety, health, agriculture or the protection of the natural balance as well as the landscape and townscape are “grossly violated”.

In Salzburg, camping above the tree line is in theory permitted, but the Alpine Association recommends groups wishing to camp should contact the nature conservation department of the responsible district administration before setting up. 

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

Camping in a tent

Camping in a tent is the most common way of camping in the summer and most people pitch up on a dedicated campsite.

Many campgrounds have water and electricity facilities, as well as showers, cooking areas, recreation spaces and even kids clubs. Others have luxury elements like year-round heated pools, saunas, beach volleyball and restaurants.

Campsites are also often located near a lake or at the base of mountains, which means you can wake up to beautiful scenery every morning .

Some of Austria’s top camping associations include Camping Wien, Camping Steiermark and Top Camping Austria.

Camping in a van

Camping in a motorhome is only allowed at campsites in Austria and if someone is caught sleeping in a van in a prohibited area they can be fined.

The only exception is if a driver has to stop and recuperate before continuing driving.

Top camping tips

Austria is packed with stunning natural landscapes, so camping during the summer months is a popular activity – both for Austrian residents and tourists.

For this reason, it’s recommended to book ahead during the peak summer holiday months of July and August, whether planning to camp in a motorhome or tent.

Camping in motorhomes is also becoming more popular at some winter campsites during the ski season, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance.

Additionally, it’s advised to take bug spray when camping in Austria in the summer as insects like mosquitoes and ticks are common in countryside areas.

In fact, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) – a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected ticks – is endemic in Austria and it’s recommended to get vaccinated before going on a hiking or camping trip in the country.

The main affected areas for TBE are Tyrol and Upper Austria.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s ‘tick vaccine’ and should you take it

Useful vocabulary

Campsite – Campingplätze

Tent – Zelt

Campervan – Reisemobil

Electricity – Strom

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