In Austria the system for old age provision is dominated by the public pension system – as is obvious when comparing the capitalization of pension funds in OECD member states. In this respect Austria ranks low even when compared to other countries that offer high income replacement ratios in their public pension system. Due to the voluntary character of occupational pension plans and their principal foundation on firm-specific agreements there is only one official data source available for assessing their scale in Austria: figures published by the pension funds which were established in 1990. For other systems covering employee pension promises, projections have to be made, based on information on the labor market, the number of companies involved, collective bargaining agreements, and a survey of occupational pensions conducted by WIFO in 1994. The update shows a slight expansion of occupational pensions in the non-agricultural private sector since 1994. At the end of 1996 about 6,240 firms or 6.1 percent of all companies in this sector offered occupational pensions to some 204,000 of their workforce (10.4 percent). This compares with 4.6 percent of the firms and 8.6 percent of their staff in 1994 and provides clear evidence of a slight extension of occupational pension plans. It is mainly small firms in the Other Services category and a collective bargaining agreement in the Raiffeisen banking sector which are responsible for this development. Most of the dynamics derives from the growth of pension funds. These profit from the switch of direct pension provision to pension funds and the fact that private insurance companies have lost ground as they were not able to exploit demand for this type of coverage. Due to a shortage of funds in public budgets and the doubtful effect of tax breaks for pension saving plans, the success of occupational pension plans in Austria will depend on the decline of the income replacement ratio in the public pension system. This would strengthen the demand for employee pensions and might, in combination with more favorable business conditions, create a positive climate to replace steep age-earning profiles with occupational pension plans.
Die Verbreitung der betrieblichen Altersversorgung in Österreich 1996; Austrian Occupational Pension Systems in 1996
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