Slovakia is in disagreement with an Austrian bill aimed at adjusting the level of child benefit for people working in Austria but with dependents abroad to the cost of living in their home countries. Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer) voiced this disagreement during his meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna on May 7.
“If someone pays the same levies and taxes in a particular country, that person should be entitled to the same benefits in that country,” said the PM after meeting with his Austrian counterpart, as cited by the TASR newswire.
Pellegrini added that the bill, aimed at changing the level of child benefit, “might not be fully in line with EU legislation”, nevertheless he respects the attitude of the Austrian government.
Kurz at the press conference rejected claims that the Austrian bill is discriminatory.
“If Slovaks work in Austria and their children live in Austria, they’ll receive the same level of child benefit as any Austrian, Dane or Czech,” he said.
Last week, the Austrian Cabinet approved a bill aimed at changing the level of child benefit for people who work in Austria but whose families remain abroad. If it is greenlighted by parliament, the bill will come into force next year.
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Based on Austrian statistics, in 2016 Slovak parents working in Austria drew child benefit amounting to €63 million for around 30,000 children living in Slovakia. Austria has been paying child benefit for 132,000 children living abroad.
There are currently around 40,000 Slovak nurses and carers working in Austria, with up to 40 percent of them said to be considering leaving the country if child benefit is cut.
The Austrian opposition has warned that the possible departure of Slovak nurses and carers could unpredictably affect the Austrian health-care system as well as care services.
8. May 2018 at 6:22 | Compiled by Spectator staff