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Mental Health and Work: Austria

image of Mental Health and Work: Austria

Tackling mental ill-health of the working-age population is becoming a key issue for labour market and social policies in OECD countries. OECD governments increasingly recognise that policy has a major role to play in keeping people with mental ill-health in employment or bringing those outside of the labour market back to it, and in preventing mental illness. This report on Austria is the eighth in a series of reports looking at how the broader education, health, social and labour market policy challenges identified in Sick on the Job? Myths and Realities about Mental Health and Work (OECD, 2012) are being tackled in a number of OECD countries. It concludes that the Austrian system provides good opportunities in principle for improving labour market inclusion of people with mental ill-health but that structural fragmentation of responsibilities limits the means of the federal government to develop coherent health and work policies. Successful structural reform requires including a range of actors responsible for policy implementation to achieve coordination across institutions and better integrated service delivery.

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Benefit reform in Austria to tackle widespread inactivity

This chapter looks at the role Austria’s benefit system plays in providing people with mental ill-health with a secure income in periods of inactivity and helping them stay in, or return to, the labour market. The chapter focuses particularly on the 2013 disability benefit reform. To tap into its considerable potential, Austria must rise to the challenge of implementing rigorously the new roles of various institutions. Issues are discussed against the backdrop of the frequent mental health problems among people who receive working-age benefits and the fast increase, over the past twenty years, in the number of disability benefit claims for reasons of poor mental health.

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