In Austria, unemployed people who do not get vaccinated will be deprived of social security benefits.

Jobseekers in Austria who refuse a job with a company on the grounds that they are required to be vaccinated will be temporarily deprived of benefits.

The Austrian labour minister has decided to block unemployment benefits for job seekers who do not apply for a job when vaccination is required or do not accept a job offered to them solely on this basis.

The Austrian daily Der Standard publishes a letter sent on 25 August by conservative minister Martin Kocher to the Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS), the Austrian employment agency (*).

“Is it legitimate to put pressure on unvaccinated people,” the paper asks. Some Austrian companies have opted for compulsory vaccination, including the health and social professions in some regions. The trade and industry sectors have also started to require vaccination as a precondition for employment.

Unemployed people who refuse a job offer on these grounds face severe sanctions and the Austrian employment office will suspend benefits “for six weeks”.

The AMS says it expects a number of problems in the implementation of this new measure. The labour ministry tries to play down the measure, explaining that the AMS will not force anyone to be vaccinated and cannot check whether an unemployed person is vaccinated or not. But as companies are free to demand vaccination, the AMS is likely to face some difficult questions in the coming months.


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