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ECONOMY

Plan to build 30,000 new homes in five years

30,000 new apartments could be constructed in Austria over the next five years at a cost of €6.5 billion ($8 billion), the heads of the construction association, construction unions, non-profit developers and building societies told media on Wednesday.

Plan to build 30,000 new homes in five years
The Gasometer complex in Vienna - hailed as attractive and affordable housing. Photo: APA

About €1.3 billion will be made available each year for the construction of 5,000 apartments, of which a third will come from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The new apartments are planned for urban centres such as Vienna, Graz and Linz – where demand for affordable housing is high. The population of Vienna is predicted to grow by 10 percent in the next ten years.

The project aims to provide homes for about 68,000 people in total and will bring a boost to the domestic economy of 0.4 percent GDP growth and contribute to a reduction in public debt of 1.5 percent.

Additionally it is expected to create 30,000 jobs – of which between 15,000 and 20,000 will be permanent.

Josef Muchitsch from the Wood Construction Union said the "innovative" project came about because Austria doesn’t have enough affordable housing and needs to create new employment opportunities.

It will use available capital at historically low interest rates, he said.

Muchitsch said he assumes the government will now review the model for the project, with Minister for Social Affairs Rudolf Hundstorfer having already announced his support, given that the project would not put pressure on the national budget.

He added that it was a “Christmas gift that the government just needed to unwrap”.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

EU takes action against Austria on working rights

Austria comes up short in areas such as 'transparent and predictable working conditions' and 'promotion of equality in the labour market', the EU Commission has said.

EU takes action against Austria on working rights

The EU Commission has reprimanded Austria on several labour market issues, according to a press statement by the Brussels-based authority.

Austria is lagging in properly implementing EU regulations in “transparent and predictable working conditions” and “promotion of equality in the labour market”.

After the European Union sends out directives to member states, it also sets a deadline for the countries to bring the EU-agreed rules to the national level.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

The first directive for “transparent and predictable working conditions” provides more extensive and updated labour rights and protection to the 182 million workers in the European Union.

The EU Commission stated: “With the new rules, workers have, for instance, the right to more predictability regarding assignments and working time. They will also have the right to receive timely and more complete information about the essential aspects of their job, such as place of work and remuneration”.

Austria and 18 other member states have failed to communicate the complete transposition of the directive into national law by the deadline of August 1st.

READ ALSO: 10 ways EU countries aim to cut energy bills and avoid blackouts this winter

Promotion of equality in the labour market

Additionally, Austria has failed to notify national measures transposing the “Work-Life Balance Directive” by the EU and has been notified along with 18 other countries.

The directive “aims to ensure equality in labour market participation by encouraging equal sharing of care responsibilities between parents”.

“It introduced paternity leave, ensuring that fathers/second parents have the right to take at least ten working days of paternity leave around the time of birth of the child. The Directive also establishes a minimum of four months of parental leave, with at least two of the four months non-transferable from one parent to another.

READ ALSO: Non-EU family members of EU citizens can obtain long-term residence, court rules

“It establishes five working days per year of carers’ leave for each worker providing personal care or support to a relative or person living in the same household and gives all working parents of children up to at least eight years old and all carers a right to request flexible working arrangements.”

The Austrian federal government now has two months to respond to the EU Commission’s letter of formal notice, otherwise, it faces another warning – and could eventually see its case going to the European Court of Justice.

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