Information in English
Information in English
As the social and economic institution of Austrian pharmacists, the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich fulfils many and diverse tasks for its members.
Founding and history
By founding the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich (i.e., the general salary fund of Austrian pharmacists) in 1908 the Austrian pharmacists established their own social welfare and economic institution. Its founding was inspired by the idea to establish a social system of balance and support for the pharmacist profession that would be based on solidarity within the profession.
Due to increased requirements, the functions of the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich are considerably more extensive today. Its legal basis is provided by the so-called Gehaltskassengesetz. The tasks are performed by a modern administration.
The Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich is a Vienna-based statutory corporation responsible for the entire federal territory. It features equal representation - i.e. representatives of both salaried and self-employed pharmacists - in all its bodies. Decisions can therefore only be taken by agreement between employee and employer representatives. The 72-member Delegate Assembly and the 14-member Executive Board form the basis of this system. To the outside the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich is represented by two chairpersons.
The Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich is subject to supervision by the Federal Ministry of Health.
It is estimated that around 5,500 pharmacists working in Austrian public and hospital pharmacies have their salaries paid by the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich.
Remuneration is based on a salary scheme with 18 brackets and pay increases every two years. Conversely the pharmacy as employer pays a so-called Gehaltskassenumlage (‘salary fund levy’) to the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich whose amount is independent of the respective employee’s salary bracket. This system of a uniform levy ensures that the costs for each salaried pharmacist are always the same to the employer irrespective of age and years of service.
The discrimination of older employees for financial reasons is thus largely avoided, which in 1908 was also the objective that led to the establishment of the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich.
Apart from their remuneration through the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich, salaried pharmacists also receive parts of their salaries directly from the pharmacy employing them on the basis of collective bargaining agreements. These salary parts are likewise independent of years of service, so that this does not result in any cost-related discrimination against older employees either.
Moreover, pharmacies also receive a number of remuneration benefits via the levy system. These remunerations have the objective of covering costs, that arise for a pharmacy when employees fall ill for a longer period, when they have an increased holiday entitlement, participate in further education and training or when they are entitled to receive severance payments.
All public health service prescriptions are settled by the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich as intermediary between public pharmacies and health insurance providers. This procedure is expressly regulated in the Salary Fund Act. According to the provisions of this Act, public pharmacies’ claims against health insurance providers resulting from supplying pharmaceuticals are subrogated to the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich at the time incurred. Legally, therefore, the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich asserts its own claims vis-a-vis the health insurance providers. The pharmacies are entitled to corresponding payment from the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich.
The Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich thus takes on the role of “clearing house”, thereby making the settlement significantly easier for both the currently about 1,400 public pharmacies as well as the health insurance providers (about 180 so-called “favoured recipients”). The settlement includes both mailing and distributing paper prescriptions as well as forwarding electronic prescription settlement data.
Based on internal resolutions, in this context the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich undertakes advance financing of the prescription revenues vis-a-vis the pharmacies. 80% of the prescription revenue are paid out to the pharmacies two days after the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich received the electronic prescription data. The remaining 20% are disbursed four days after having received the paper prescriptions.The health insurance providers legally have a maximum period of 14 days for payment to the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich.
The Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich also undertakes arrears billing vis-a-vis the health insurance providers and checks possible reassessments made by the health insurance providers.
Another key activity of the Gehaltskasse in this area lies in providing its members with information regarding submission regulations.
Apart from the settling all prescriptions between public pharmacies and health insurance providers, the Gehaltskasse also settles the numerous vaccination campaigns, both regionally and on a national level.
Welfare and support fund
The “social fund” of Austrian pharmacists is primarily financed by self-employed and salaried pharmacists’ dues.
The bulk of the funds is spent on supplementary pension schemes in the form of additional payments to the legal pension for currently about 2,150 retired pharmacists.
In addition, the Welfare and Support Fund grants numerous further benefits, such as for instance grants for the birth of a child, support for single parents or payments in addition to the public unemployment and sickness benefits as well as cure expenses and care costs etc. to its (former) members as well as financial support to low-turnover pharmacies (rural pharmacy assistance, locum pharmacist assistance).
On a statutory basis the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich provides its members with free-of-charge job placement services across Austria.
The job placement platform is accessible for all members via the homepage of the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich. There, Pharmacies can post job offers according to their requirements. Pharmacists registered as job seekers receive suitable offers and can apply for the jobs.
Apart from the electronic job platform, employees of the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse also provide quick help and information via e-mail or phone – especially in urgent or emergency situations. If a lone working pharmacist falls sick, a replacement is found usually within a few hours.
Annually, hundreds of jobs are placed via the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich.
Due to its job placement and remuneration functions, the Pharmazeutische Gehaltskasse für Österreich always has a comprehensive overview of the job market situation for salaried pharmacists.
The homepage of the Gehaltskasse is a service platform, where members can submit applications, make specific calculations and access a variety of documents via a personal delivery box.