Austria

Печат

Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about Austria on the EURES Portal.

Finding a job

You can find out about job opportunities via the Public Employment Service (AMS), from job advertisements in daily newspapers (in the online editions but also, for example, in the print version of the Saturday edition of the Kurier), via private employment agencies (recruiters) and via recruitment companies on the internet. ‘Word of mouth’ is also important: ask friends, relatives and neighbours. You can also obtain information on Austrian job vacancies through the EURES network via your country’s employment service.

More than 1 000 specially trained EURES advisers work in the employment services of all EU/EEA countries and in Switzerland helping jobseekers find a job in another EU/EEA country.

Management personnel are recruited from other firms, either directly or through recruitment companies.

In many cases, however, you still have to apply directly to the firm in question.

Digital applications/online personal information forms:

A lot of companies ask for online applications. Fill in the online personal information form and, if possible, upload your CV, application and certificates, etc.

Online job boards

Do not confine yourself to advertisements in newspapers when looking for a job. Online job boards are a useful addition. They not only publish job vacancies but allow you to add your profile and receive an email notification when an advertisement is placed on the board which fits your profile.

eJob-Room of the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS):

This service is available to people registered with the AMS as well as to non-registered individuals.

It is certainly a good idea to register with the eJob-Room. This is also possible even if you do not yet have your place of residence in Austria. The eJob-Room provides an overview of all the job vacancies reported to the AMS in Austria and other EEA countries.

Registered users can also publish their job application in the eJob-Room.

Before you send off the application documents, you can first contact potential employers by telephone and/or by email and ask whether the job or position advertised is still available.

You can even apply if no vacancies are advertised. This is known as a speculative – or unsollicited – application.

For additional important information, please see:

https://www.ams.at/arbeitsuchende/richtig-bewerben

Read how to interpret information in job advertisements, for example, at:

https://www.arbeiterkammer.at/beratung/arbeitundrecht/bewerbung/Stellenanzeige.html.

If you have made an appointment for an interview by phone, in person or by email, bring your curriculum vitae, certificates and confirmation of previous employment and prepare well for the interview.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Applying for a job

Application documents should be written in German unless the vacancy notice stipulates another language. Applications are frequently sent by email or online. It is also common practice to send applications to firms which have not advertised a vacancy (speculative/unsollicited application) – see Working in another Member State/Looking for a job above.

A complete application pack includes:

A letter of application (covering letter), a curriculum vitae or Europass CV, certificates (school-leaving certificate, testimonials, professionally relevant certificates), evidence of attendance on relevant courses, attestation of formal and informal skills, for example in the form of skills profiles, letter(s) of recommendation (where available) and an application photograph.

The letter of application/covering letter:

Be sure to find out the name of your contact person in the company (the HR manager) and address him or her by the correct title (Dear Dr Müller). Refer to the newspaper advertisement or a telephone call in your letter. Draw attention to your strongest points (professional experience, professional and personal qualifications, motivation, commitment) and explain why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Request a personal interview.

Curriculum vitae or Europass CV:

Your curriculum vitae should be brief, concise and clearly laid out, presenting the essential facts. It should preferably consist of no more than two – or even better, one – A4 sheet/s. Previous periods of employment should be arranged chronologically, beginning with your first job and ending with your most recent one, or vice versa. This also applies to the part covering your education and training. A lot of companies ask for the European Curriculum Vitae/Europass.

You will find further information, for example, at: https://bewerbungsportal.ams.or.at/bewerbungsportal/ and at https://europa.eu/europass/de

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Finding accommodation

You can find information on available flats, houses and other properties in newspapers (e.g. the Kurier), from estate agents (at https://www.herold.at/) and on various websites. City authorities and local councils also offer information on vacant accommodation. Co-operative accommodation can be found on the websites of housing co-operatives.

Average housing expenditure (rent per square metre including service charges) as of the end of 2020 is EUR 8.3 per m2. Rental costs are lowest in Burgenland and Carinthia and highest in Vorarlberg, compared to the rest of Austria.

The rent per square metre depends on many factors such as transport links, infrastructure, residential area, and fixtures and fittings of the accommodation. Inner city and suburban properties with good transport links and infrastructure are expensive. Smaller properties are often more expensive per square metre than larger ones. Running costs (about 25% of the net rent) and heating, gas and electricity charges also have to be taken into consideration.

Operating costs are understood to mean, for example, water/wastewater charges, sewage clearance costs, charges for waste disposal services, cleaning expenses, heating charges, playground costs and laundry fees, to which every tenant must make a monthly contribution.

In Austria, a tenancy contract is a verbal or written agreement between a lessor (property owner) and the tenant. A tenant may also sublet parts of the property.

Recommendation: if the tenancy contract is concluded in writing, then you have written evidence in the event of a dispute.

For properties subject to the Landlord and Tenant Act (Mietrechtsgesetz): Tenancy contracts are either fixed-term (generally for a period of 3 years) or indefinite. If a fixed-term tenancy contract is not terminated, it is automatically extended for the period stipulated in the agreement. If the tenancy contract is not terminated following the expiry of this second period, it shall be deemed to be extended indefinitely.

You have the option to view apartments before signing a tenancy contract. Apartments listed in newspapers or on the internet are often managed by estate agents. Viewings are often arranged over the phone. Make sure to ask as many questions as possible during the viewing and avoid signing any tenancy contract or lease offer without due consideration, even if encouraged to do so.

lease offer serves as confirmation that you wish to rent the property under certain conditions. If the lessor accepts this lease offer, the tenancy contract will then be concluded.

N.B.: You will be required to honour any lease offer that you make. You should also avoid ‘reserving’ a property. A reservation is often a hidden lease offer.

Before you conclude a tenancy or purchase contract, you should consult an appropriate advice service, such as the Tenants’ Association (Mietervereinigung), the Association for the Protection of Tenants (Mieterschutzverband) or the Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer) in order to have your tenancy or purchase contract checked for legality.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

Obtaining recognition of qualifications and competences can play a vital role in a person’s decision to take up work in another EU country. Unfortunately different education and training systems often make it difficult for employers and institutions to properly assess qualifications.

Recognising professional qualifications

As a basic principle, EU citizens should be able to practise their profession in any other Member State. In reality, differing national requirements block access to certain professions in the host country.

To address these differences, the EU has established a system to recognise professional qualifications. Within this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in a host Member State.

The European Commission has established a set of instruments to ensure greater transparency and recognition of qualifications, both for academic and professional purposes:

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Kinds of employment

The Act on the Employment of Children and Young People stipulates that children are not allowed to work, not even in the context of an apprenticeship, until they reach the age of 15 (i.e. until their 15th birthday) or until the subsequent completion of compulsory schooling. There are only very few exceptions to this. Until then, all young people are required to attend school. Young people are subject to compulsory education or training until the age of 18. Children and young people are covered by child and youth protection legislation.

Part-time working is widespread in the wholesale and retail sector. Part-time employees have the same insurance protection (health, accident, unemployment, pension insurance) and are subject to the same statutory employment provisions as full-time employed people.

Seasonal work is common in tourism and in hotels and restaurants in cities and tourist areas. In the building trade and in the agricultural sector (e.g. during the asparagus and grape harvest), fixed-term employment contracts are also possible. Seasonal workers in the hotels and restaurants sector are subject to special provisions.

Freelance service and employment contracts are increasingly replacing conventional employment contracts in all fields of employment.

Nevertheless, the conventional contract of employment in a permanent employment relationship with all its rights (leave entitlement, protection against dismissal, social insurance, etc.) and obligations continues to be the usual form of employment contract.

Independent (freelance) contractors (e.g. language instructors) enjoy limited protection under labour legislation, but – apart from a few exceptions (e.g. sickness benefit is paid by the health insurance fund from the fourth day of illness) – full protection under social insurance. They are also covered by unemployment insurance. They are compulsory members of the Austrian Chamber of Labour and pay contributions to the employees’ provident fund (Mitarbeitervorsorge – Abfertigung neu (‘new severance scheme’)). In the absence of a specific agreement between the employer and the freelance worker, however, there is no entitlement to statutory benefits such as minimum periods of notice, holiday pay, minimum wage rates, etc. Independent (freelance) contractors must tax their income themselves.

Marginally employed workers (geringfügig Beschäftigte) (monthly income not exceeding EUR 475.86 in 2021) are covered by accident insurance. The employer must register this marginal employment with the health insurance provider. Voluntary health and pension insurance is available, to be paid for by the marginally employed worker. Under labour legislation (protection against dismissal, severance pay, etc.) marginally employed workers are treated in the same way as employees in permanent employment. Such contracts are on the increase in some sectors, such as wholesale and retail trade.

The category of ‘new self-employed workers’ covers all commercial activities for which a trade licence (Gewerbeschein) is not required and through which business income is obtained on a contract basis. New self-employed workers therefore mainly use their own equipment (computer, tools, etc.) and are not covered by social security insurance elsewhere as a result of this activity (e.g. through employment). This category includes, for example, authors, translators, lecturers and psychotherapists. The new self-employed have to report their activity to the Social Insurance Institute for Self-Employed Persons. As a new self-employed worker, you must pay contributions for health, accident and pension insurance only if you exceed a certain income threshold for self-employment. You can insure yourself against the risk of unemployment under an ‘opt-in’ model. Other income thresholds apply in the event that you have a number of sources of income.

Apprentices (trainees) in all sectors must conclude their contracts of employment in writing; they enjoy full insurance protection (health, accident, unemployment and pension insurance) and have special protection against dismissal.

Agency workers (under the Act on Temporary Agency Work – Arbeitskräfteüberlassungsgesetz) enjoy full insurance protection, and are subject in some circumstances to statutory provisions specific to them. 

Trainees are considered to be in a training relationship. They are under no obligation to perform work and have no claim to remuneration.

Au pairs

The employment of au pairs is governed by the Domestic Workers Act (Hausgehilfen- und Hausangestelltengesetz – HGHAG). They are paid in accordance with the minimum wage for au pairs.

Au pairs may be managed by au pair agencies. If you approach an au pair agency, enquire about the agency’s licence to trade.

Most au pair agencies offer support both to prospective au pairs (selecting a host family, travel arrangements, etc.) and to existing au pairs. Au pairs also need to be registered for statutory social insurance (gesetzliche Sozialversicherung – ASVG).

Au pairs from EU/EEA countries or Switzerland benefit from the same rights as Austrians.

If you wish to employ au pairs from third countries, the provisions of the Foreign Labour Act (Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz – AuslBG) shall not apply, but their employment must be reported to the Austrian Employment Service (AMS). 

Seasonal work

At certain times of the year, there is a particularly high need for personnel in some sectors. In the areas of tourism, agriculture and forestry, seasonal workers are therefore sought after.

Particularly in the regions of Eastern Austria (Burgenland, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Vienna), experienced harvesters are needed from spring to autumn (e.g. for asparagus and wine harvesting).

In the winter sports regions of western Austria, skilled workers with practical experience (restaurant specialists, chefs) as well as experienced assistants (kitchen helpers, cleaning staff, maids and boys in the parlour, waiters and waitresses, tavern staff, etc.) are sought in the months of November to March as well as in the tourist regions throughout Austria, especially in the months of May to October.

Further information:

Seasonal positions: https://jobroom.ams.or.at/jobroom/index_as.jsp

Some special labour law provisions apply to seasonal work, such as protection against dismissal before the end of the limited employment.

In the tourism sector, special labour law regulations apply (e.g. special calculation periods for weekly or monthly working hours, corresponding regulations for rest periods and days off).

Information on the rights and obligations of employees should be obtained from the federal Chamber of Labour at the latest before starting work.

Further information:

Seasonal work: https://www.arbeiterkammer.at/beratung/arbeitundrecht/Arbeitsvertraege/Arbeiten_als_Saisonnier.html

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Employment contracts

contract of employment may be concluded in writing, orally or implicitly (e.g. through the commencement of the activity with subsequent payment). Apprenticeship agreements must be concluded in writing.

Legally, a distinction is made between a contract of employment (Arbeitsvertrag), a freelance contract (freier Dienstvertrag) and a contract for works (Werkvertrag) (see also Working conditions/Kinds of employment).

If no written contract of employment is concluded, both employees and independent (freelance) contractors receive a statement of terms and conditions (Dienstzettel) immediately on commencement of the employment relationship.

Dienstzettel sets out, for example, the place of work, basic salary, normal working hours, etc. If the employment relationship is for a defined period, the Dienstzettel also indicates the date when the employment relationship ends.

Changes to the contract of employment may not be less favourable than the provisions of existing legislation, collective agreements or works agreements. In the event of unlawful or unfavourable changes, consult the bodies that represent your interests: the works council, the Chamber of Labour or your trade union.

Special provisions apply to contracts for works (Werkverträge).

An open-ended employment contract may be unilaterally terminated (Kündigung). Employers and employees are subject to different periods of notice laid down in the contract of employment, in works agreements, in the collective bargaining agreement, in the Employee Act or in the General Civil Code (Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch – ABGB). The stipulated periods must be respected if termination of the contract is to be legally effective.

Employment may also be terminated through dismissal (Entlassung) (termination without notice of the employment relationship by the employer) or through termination by mutual consent (einvernehmliche Auflösung des Dienstverhältnisses).

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Working time

The Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) applies to almost all private-sector employees over the age of 18. For young people and defined groups (e.g. drivers of motor vehicles) separate working time provisions apply.

Working time is understood to mean the time from the beginning to the end of work, excluding breaks. The working day/working week is the working time within a period of 24 hours/a calendar week.

Normal working time is:

Collective agreements in many industries have shortened the working day or working week, e.g. to 38 hours.

Maximum limits of twelve hours per day and 60 hours per week and the limit of 48 hours per week on average over a given period of 17 weeks apply.

Different working time agreements apply to certain sectors, such as tourism, the hotel and catering industry and retail. Ask the works council, the Chamber of Labour or your trade union what rule applies to your sector.

Breaks and rest periods:

If your working day is 6 hours or more, you are entitled to a break of at least half an hour.

This break is not paid and is not counted as part of total working hours.

At the end of the working day, employees are entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours. The weekly rest period is governed by the Rest Periods Act (Arbeitsruhegesetz). On weekends, you are entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of 36 hours.

Here, too, there are many exceptions.

Part-time work

Part-time employees may not be treated any less favourably than full-time employees simply because they work part time.

Extra work:

Extra work is classed as any working time between the contractually agreed working time (e.g. 25 hours) and the working time reduced by a collective agreement (e.g. 38 hours) or the normal statutory working time. A statutory premium of 25% is applied to extra hours. However, you receive this premium only if you do not reduce the extra hours via time off in lieu within the quarter (or within another three-month period).

Overtime:

Overtime is accrued if the normal working time is exceeded. According to the Working Time Act, overtime is to be remunerated with a financial bonus or time credit (50% bonus or 1.5 hours of time credit per hour worked).

Shift work:

For shift work, the job is performed by several different workers over the course of a set period. In certain conditions, a shift of up to 12 hours is possible.

Flexitime:

With the flexitime system, the employee is able to determine the beginning and end of their normal working hours each day, within an agreed timeframe. It is compulsory for the employee to be at work for the prescribed core period. The flexitime must be set down in a works agreement or a flexitime agreement.

Work at night, on Sundays and on public holidays:

Both men and women are allowed to work at night. However, pregnant women, nursing mothers and young people below the age of 18, for example, are not permitted to work at night or on Sundays or public holidays. Exceptions exist, for example, in the hotel and restaurant trade and in hospitals.

Short-time work:

Short-time work is when working hours in a company are reduced for a limited period of time. Short-time work serves to bridge economic disruptions and is intended to prevent employees from losing their jobs.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Leave (annual leave, parental leave, etc.)

Employees and apprentices have a minimum entitlement to paid annual leave of five weeks in each working year. In terms of working days, you are entitled to 30 days’ leave or 25 working days, which includes Saturdays, in each working year.

In the first 6 months of your first year of employment, your leave entitlement is calculated on a pro rata basis. From the start of the seventh month, you receive the full leave entitlement. From the second year of employment, the full leave entitlement normally accrues from the beginning of the working year.

The working year commences on the date the employee started work in the job.

Marginally employed workers and part-time workers are also entitled to five weeks of paid holiday per year.

In addition to the monthly salary, employees in Austria receive – if provided for in the collective agreement or employment contract – a holiday allowance, also called 14th month’s salary or holiday bonus.

A distinction should be made between the holiday bonus and holiday pay. The latter refers to pay to which you are entitled during your leave even though you are not at work.

You must agree the timing of your leave with your employer in good time and you must obtain their consent. Enquire at work about when you should apply for annual leave. It is best to apply for annual leave in writing.

Should you fall ill whilst on leave, these days do not count as leave. However, this is only the case if you are sick for more than 3 calendar days. You must inform your company that you are sick immediately and  provide a medical certificate from your general practitioner (doctor).

Disabled employees and young persons are not, in principle, entitled to more leave, except where collective agreements or works agreements so stipulate.

The following count as public holidays: 1 January (New Year), 6 January (Epiphany), Easter Monday, 1 May (State Holiday), Ascension, Whit Monday, Corpus Christi, 15 August (Assumption), 26 October (National Holiday), 1 November (All Saints), 8 December (Immaculate Conception), 25 December (Christmas) and 26 December (St Stephen’s Day).

Sickness and continued remuneration (sick pay):

The principle of continued remuneration ensures that, in the event of sickness, industrial accident or occupational illness and during rehabilitation and convalescence leave, your remuneration will continue to be paid through the company. As an employee you are obliged to inform your company about your incapacity for work as soon as you become sick or suffer an accident. Ask your general practitioner (doctor) to issue a medical certificate or sick note (Krankenstandsbestätigung or Krankmeldung).

When normal remuneration ceases you receive sick pay from your health insurance provider. The amount of sick pay depends on your earnings in the last month before your illness and the amount of continued remuneration paid to you.

Independent contractors already receive sick pay as of the fourth day of sickness.

Maternity leave:

Maternity leave (Mutterschutz) for expectant mothers normally begins 8 weeks before birth and ends 8 weeks thereafter. During this time it is not permitted for the mother to be employed at all. During the protection period the employment relationship continues to exist, i.e. salaries and wages continue to be paid. If you have a valid contract of employment, or even just valid health insurance, you will receive a maternity benefit for the period before the birth as a substitute for your income. Freelance contractors are also entitled to maternity benefit.

Parental leave:

Mothers and fathers who are employed are entitled to unpaid parental leave. This means that they are released from their employment duties but do not receive any pay during that time. Parental leave can be taken until the child reaches the age of two, provided you live in the same household as the child. The minimum period of the parental leave is 2 months. During this time, and provided the conditions are satisfied, childcare allowance (Kinderbetreuungsgeld) may be drawn. You are protected from dismissal for up to four weeks after the parental leave or period of parental leave ends.

Educational and study leave:

Educational or study leave may be arranged after a minimum employment period of six months, if the company agrees. There is no legal entitlement. The minimum period is two months and the maximum 12 months. If education or study leave is taken in parts, each part has to last just 2 months. It is possible to take study leave in separate periods spread over up to 4 years.

Wage or salary is not paid during this period, but the employee will receive a continuing-training allowance from the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) equivalent to the level of unemployment benefit to which he or she is entitled, providing that the employee attends a course of continuing training for at least 20 hours per week.

Dependant care leave:

If you have to care for a member of your family living in your household, you may be given time off work and continue to receive your pay, under certain conditions. Time off for care responsibilities is granted for 1 week. In the case of children who require care, one further week per calendar year is possible if the child has not yet reached the age of 12. Sick children can also be cared for by a parent who does not live in the same household.

Special care leave:

The regulation on special care leave is part of the Federal Government's package of measures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is designed to give workers who have to care for children up to the age of 14 or people with disabilities, or who have family members in need of care, a legal entitlement to special care leave of up to 4 weeks up until 9 July 2021.

Dependant care special leave and dependant care special part-time working:

Dependant care special leave and dependant care special part-time working may be claimed where the family member is in receipt of long-term care allowance stage 3 or above or, in the case of children under the age of 18, long-term care allowance as from stage 1 or in the case of dementia of a family member. A written agreement between employer and employee is required. Working time may also be reduced.

Compassionate leave:

Employees may take compassionate leave in order to care for seriously ill children or to be with dying relatives or may reduce or rearrange their working hours in such cases. Employees on compassionate leave have a statutory right to a dependent care special allowance.

Parental part-time working:

This refers to a legally regulated entitlement to change the previously agreed working time or move the scheduling of the working time. Under certain conditions parental part-time working is possible at the latest until the child is 7 years old.

The conditions (start, duration, extent and schedule) are to be agreed with the company. If there is no entitlement to parental part-time it can be agreed at the latest until the child is 4 years old.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Remuneration

Employees receive remuneration for the services specified in their contract of employment. Remuneration encompasses, for example, wages, salaries and apprenticeship income (i.e. remuneration for apprentices).

The amount of remuneration is governed by laws, collective agreements and/or internal works agreements; it also depends on individual factors such as age, qualifications, working hours, assignment to duties (position), length of service, etc.

Collective agreements are written agreements that govern working hours, working conditions and remuneration, for example. They are negotiated between workers’ representatives (e.g. trade unions) and employers’ representatives (e.g. the Chamber of Commerce).

Works agreements are written agreements concluded between employers and the works council.

There are agreements on minimum wages in the various sectors. Minimum wages are usually negotiated in collective agreements by trade unions and company representatives for the various sectors. There is no statutory minimum wage in Austria.

In most cases wages, salaries and apprenticeship income are transferred to a salary/current account. They are paid on the last day of the month or on the first day of the following working month. In some cases workers receive their wages weekly by cheque or in cash.

Wages and salaries, if governed by a collective agreement and/or works agreement, are paid to employees 14 times a year: 12 monthly salary payments plus 1 month’s pay in the form of a Christmas bonus and 1 month’s holiday bonus (known as special payments).

Tax, social security contributions, the contribution to the Chamber of Labour and other deductions (e.g. union membership fees) are deducted from your gross wage by your employer. Employers transfer these amounts to tax offices, social security institutions, the Chamber of Labour, etc.

You can use the gross-net calculator to work out how much money you have at your disposal after deducting taxes, etc.:

https://www.arbeiterkammer.at/beratung/steuerundeinkommen/lohnundgehalt/index.html

Employees usually receive a written statement of remuneration every month, known as a payslip. The payslip contains a precise breakdown of deductions (taxes, social insurance, legally prescribed and voluntary contributions, etc.).

Freelance contractors are paid for the duration of their work assignment. In the absence of any specific agreement, they are not entitled to special payments. They are, however, entitled to a statement of terms and conditions (Dienstzettel) (see chapter on Employment Contracts), in the absence of a written contract. If their contract continues for a longer period, they receive their remuneration monthly. Freelance contractors must make their own arrangements for payment of taxes. Employers are responsible for transferring social security contributions to insurance institutions (pension insurance, accident insurance, unemployment insurance, etc.) and the Austrian Health Insurance Fund. Freelance contractors are members of the Chamber of Labour and pay a contribution to it (the Chamber of Labour levy).

For contractors, it is the result of the service (the work assignment) that determines the remuneration. Remuneration is normally paid after the contract has been fulfilled. For contractors, there is no entitlement to rates fixed by collective agreement or to special payments. Persons covered by a contract for works and services have to make their own arrangements for payment of taxes and social insurance contributions.

You can obtain free legal advice from the Chambers of Labour, trade unions and the Chamber of Commerce, whose area of responsibility includes the self-employed.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

End of employment

Probation period:

A probation period is agreed at the beginning of an employment relationship. During the probation period a contract of employment may be terminated verbally by the company or by the employee without giving reasons. The probation period is 1 month (apprenticeship: 3 months).

Termination of a fixed-term contract:

Employment ends automatically when the term of the contract has expired. The last day of a fixed-term contract is indicated in the employment contract or in the Dienstzettel (see Working conditions / Employment contracts). 

Termination by mutual consent:

When an employee and an employer end an employment relationship by mutual consent, no period of notice is required. It may be terminated orally or in writing. Written termination is recommended.

Unilateral termination:

Notice can be given orally, in writing or implicitly (handover of employment papers). No reason for termination need be given. As a precaution, you should give notice in writing and be aware of any notice periods and notice dates stipulated in the collective agreement, by law, or in company agreements.

Dismissal:

Dismissal terminates an employment relationship with immediate effect. There must be a reason for dismissal (e.g. persistent neglect of duties). Dismissal may be effected orally, in writing or implicitly. Even an unjustified dismissal terminates an employment contract with immediate effect, but you can bring an action for wrongful dismissal before the Labour and Social Security Court.

Resignation:

Resignation also terminates an employment contract with immediate effect. This option is made available to employees in the event of gross negligence on the part of the company, for example.

When employment is terminated, an employee is entitled to receive his/her employment papers.

Employment papers comprise: a pay statement, a certificate of employment, notice of deregistration from the health insurance scheme, an attestation of employment and remuneration, a pay slip (L16) and a testimonial. N.B.: Further information can be obtained from the appropriate works council, Chamber of Labour or trade union.

Reduction of working hours based on age:

Partial retirement:

Older employees may reduce their working time by up to 60% and receive wage compensation of up to 50% in addition to their salary that has been adjusted to working hours. Social security contributions for health, pension and unemployment insurance continue to be paid at the previous levels by the company.

Partial retirement can be taken 5 years before the regular pension age.

Partial retirement can be taken for a maximum of 5 years.

Partial pension:

The partial pension is not a pension payment as such but a partial retirement benefit. The partial pension is based on the eligibility criteria of the 'corridor' pension. Instead of a 'corridor' pension, employees receive support for continuing to work part-time until the regular pension age. For men, the partial pension can currently be taken from the age of 62.

Pension:

Individuals who were born before 1 January 1955:

Women can retire at 60, men at 65. Entitlements built up must represent either 180 insurance months within the last 360 calendar months or 180 contribution months without time restrictions or 300 insurance months until the deadline.

Individuals who were born on or after 1 January 1955:

The statutory retirement age is 65 for men and 60 for women. As of 2024, the retirement age for women will progressively rise and be brought into line with men's retirement age. From 2033 there will be a single retirement age of 65. 

Entitlements built up must represent either 180 insurance months within the last 360 calendar months or 180 contribution months without time restrictions or 300 insurance months until the deadline. Alternatively, 180 insurance months with at least 84 insurance months due to employment are also possible. Employment includes, but is not limited to, time spent as a carer for a disabled child and compassionate leave.

Early retirement:

Termination of employment on grounds of invalidity:

The rules on age and requirements are different for employees, workers and the self-employed. From 2017, there will be the option of part-time reintegration:  the normal weekly working hours can be reduced after a long period of illness, and you also have a legal right to professional rehabilitation in the event of impending disability and/or occupational disability.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

The health system

Each Austrian Land (province) has its own health administration, and each district has its own public-health department. All larger municipalities are legally obliged to employ a municipal doctor (general practitioner), whom you may consult at any time during surgery hours.

Any insured person is entitled to make use of the facilities provided by Austria’s health service (medical examinations, screening, maternity consultations, etc.). The costs are borne by the Austrian social insurance scheme or by the social insurance scheme of the country in which you are insured. 

The health insurance fund pays for doctors’ visitsmedicines less a patient’s contribution which currently (in 2021) stands at EUR 6.50 per medicinal product, and hospitalisation, (for which the patient’s contribution in 2020 was between EUR 13 and EUR 25 per day on average, for a maximum of 28 days) in public hospitals, as well as providing sickness benefit following expiry of the entitlement to sick pay. Medicines may be obtained from pharmacies or, in small municipalities, from your general practitioner.

The first point of contact is the general practitioner in your municipality or in your vicinity. General examinations are carried out there, but also simple blood tests, heart examinations (ECG), physical treatments, etc. If necessary, you will be referred to a specialist physician or an outpatient department. The referral is generally free of charge. You can also go directly to specialist physicians in your vicinity. In larger localities there is often a dentist. If you wish to see a dentist or medical specialist, please note that an appointment must always be made. You usually do not need to make an appointment to see a general practitioner, but waiting times can be long. Note: due to the COVID-19 virus, you should ask the general practitioner if you need to make an appointment.

In order to be able to use the services of the public health care system, you and your relatives will need to have an insurance card (e-card) for each visit to the doctor or medical examination. In Austria, the e-card is also the European health insurance card. The medical service is charged to the health insurance fund directly, using the e-card, and you will not have to pay anything for a number of examinations and treatments from doctors who have a contract with the fund. Some funds require part-payment for treatments or refund the bulk of the fee if already paid.

Private doctors usually need to be paid in cash or by payment order; a relatively small proportion of the cost is refunded through your health insurance fund after presentation of the invoice. As there is a very good public health service in Austria, the number of private hospitals and private clinics is relatively small. However, you can also obtain private treatment in public hospitals. For such an eventuality, it is worth taking out supplementary insurance with your health insurance fund or with private insurers.

You can find addresses of doctors in your area on the internet and on the website of the Medical Chamber (Ärztekammer):https://www.aerztekammer.at/arztsuche

Emergency situations:

Tourists and jobseekers are usually treated free of charge in medical emergencies. In any case, bring your European Health Insurance Card or the relevant E form with you.

You can find out which doctors and dentists are on duty at weekends and on public holidays from the local council office, in daily newspapers (e.g. Kronen Zeitung, Kurier) and on the websites of the Landesärztekammern (provincial medical associations) under the heading Wochenenddienst (weekend service) or Bereitschaftsdienst (out-of-hours service): https://www.aerztekammer.at/notdienste

The emergency medical service is available from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. from Monday to Friday and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays by dialling the nationwide number 141.

No area code is needed to reach important telephone numbers:

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Income and taxation

The average gross annual income of employed workers in full-time employment in Austria (2019) is EUR 29 458, and the average net annual income is EUR 22 104. Average income was lowest in Vienna and highest in Lower Austria.

Female employed workers continued to earn considerably less than their male colleagues in 2019. Their gross median income was just 63.6% of men’s, with women being much more likely to be employed part-time.

Information on average annual net income broken down by occupations may be found at: http://www.statistik.at

The economic sectors with the most employees in 2018 are as follows: 1. Manufacturing/processing industry; 2. Public administration and defence, social security; 3. Wholesale and retail sector; 4. Health services; 5. Construction; 6. Other economic services; 7. Accommodation and food service activities; 8. Transport; 9. Professional services; 10. Finance and insurance.

Income tax: The Income Tax Act (Einkommensteuergesetz) lists particular types of income: income from agriculture and forestry, from self-employed work, from trade and craft activities, from employment, from capital assets, from rents and leases, and so on. In Austria there is a multi-level progressive scale of income tax (from 0 to 55%). Income tax on earnings from employment is also called Lohnsteuer (wage tax). The level of income tax depends on the taxable income received in a calendar year. The calendar year is the same as the business year and comprises a period of 12 months.

Wage tax is deducted from wages or salaries at source together with social insurance contributions and is transferred by the employer to the competent offices (Quellensteuer – withholding tax). The tax withheld is a prepayment on the annual tax due, which is only finally settled with the annual tax assessment (Arbeitnehmerveranlagung) for employed persons or with the income tax return (Einkommensteuererklärung) for self-employed persons. To provide relief, various deductible amounts can be offset against income tax, depending on circumstances, e.g. sole breadwinner’s allowance, single parent’s allowance and lump sums, allowances and special expenses, for example family bonus, commuter allowance, operating expenses, such as business travel expenses, second-home expenses, etc., and extraordinary expenses such as hospital charges.

The tax return must be submitted and the submission of a tax assessment is optional, except in cases where taxpayers are subject to compulsory assessment, as in cases where they have two taxable incomes from employment. In many cases, the tax assessment will result in some of your tax being refunded.

Self-employed persons submit the income tax return and employed persons submit the annual tax assessment.

Social insurance contributions have to be paid by both employees and employers, (except for accident insurance, which is only paid by employers). In 2021, the following contribution rates apply equally to employees and employers:

In addition, employees and freelance workers have 0.5% of their gross earnings deducted for the Chamber of Labour contribution. Employees pay an additional 1% housing subsidy share. For employees only, there may also be trade union dues and church tax (contribution to a religious community, which is deducted directly from pay).

Other taxes:

Land-transfer tax, property tax, tax on gains from property transactions, road tax, which is a vehicle-registration tax based on engine capacity, capital gains tax, etc., value added tax (VAT), which is an indirect tax on the purchase of a product or service by the final consumer (current rates are 10%, 13% and 20%), corporation tax by legal entities (e.g. companies) instead of income tax, 25%, municipal tax, which is payable by businesses to the municipality in which they are located (3% of taxable income), sales tax, which is payable by business owners whose annual turnover exceeds EUR 35 000.

Value-added tax (VAT), also known as sales tax, is a tax on deliveries or services that is only borne by end consumers. Value-added tax amounts, in principle, to 20% (standard tax rate). For some goods and services, value-added tax amounts to 10% or 13%. For sectors that have been particularly affected by the coronavirus crisis – gastronomy, hotel business and culture as well as publications – the reduced tax rate of 5% is to be extended until 31 December 2021.

Further information on the various taxes can be obtained from the Tax Office and from the Federal Ministry of Finance. All taxes are payable to the competent Tax Office.

Austria has concluded double-taxation agreements with all EU/EEA Member States, Switzerland and many other countries. N.B.: Tax assessments, income tax returns and the payment of other taxes are subject to specific deadlines.

A number of special rules apply to cross-border workers.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

The education system

Very young and pre-school children are taken care of in crèches (Kinderkrippen, for babies and pre-school children), in nurseries (Kindergärten) and in 'children's groups' (Kindergruppen, for children aged between 3 and 6) and pre-school classes. Very young children – from the age of two on average – are also looked after in very small groups by child minders (Tageseltern), especially in small towns and rural areas.

Schooling is compulsory for nine years in Austria, from the ages of 6 to 15 (grades 1–9). The first four years of compulsory education are completed in primary schools (Volksschule); from the age of 10 (secondary level 1), children can attend either a middle school (Mittelschule) or the lower years of a higher general secondary school (allgemeinbildende höhere Schule (AHS), also called Gymnasium). There are also special education schools for children in greater need of support or with special needs (severe learning difficulties, sensory disabilities, etc.) for the first 8 to 9 years of their school education. In many cases, however, these children are also educated alongside others in what are known as integration classes.

The ninth school year (ages 14 –15) can be completed at a polytechnical school or a technical college (Polytechnische Schule/Fachmittelschule) – a school emphasising vocational orientation and preparation for an apprenticeship (basic vocational training) – or in other types of school.

Children whose mother tongue is not German have the opportunity to learn German in schools.

All young people are subject to compulsory education or training until the age of 18.

Parents and guardians must ensure that young people receive further training after having completed compulsory education up to the age of 18. They have the choice of attending an upper-secondary school, completing an apprenticeship, or undertaking some other form of training, such as an internship.

Other types of school (secondary level 2)intermediate vocational training (from the age of 14, 9th –11th or 12th grade) ends with a final examination; higher vocational schools (from the age of 14, 9th –13th grade) conclude with a final examination and the general school-leaving examination (Matura).

Higher general secondary schools and upper-level secondary schools or ‘new secondary schools’ (from the age of 14, grades 9 –12) also culminate in the general school-leaving examination (Matura).

Training for more than 200 trades can be obtained in basic vocational training (apprenticeships) from the age of 15. Most apprenticeship courses last between 3 and 4 years. The trade is learned on the job and at the vocational school simultaneously. After the apprenticeship period, the young person (apprentice) passes a final apprenticeship examination and thus becomes a skilled technician or tradesman (Geselle/Gesellin, or journeyman).

The Matura (general school-leaving examination) is the prerequisite for higher education (university, academy, technical university). Qualified school-leavers from intermediate vocational schools or qualified apprentices can prepare for university entrance by way of the vocational qualifying examination (Berufsreifeprüfung or Berufsmatura).

Qualified school-leavers from middle schools (Mittelschulen) or pupils with work experience who have dropped out can enter higher education by means of the university-entrance qualification exam (Studienberechtigungsprüfung).

In Austria there is a variety of course options in technical studies, humanities, arts and other fields of study.

Technical universities offer practical training, facilitating direct access into professional life. Colleges of education (pädagogische Hochschulen) train teachers for primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and polytechnical schools.

In Austria there are also general and vocational colleges and technical universities and university courses for working people which are offered primarily as evening classes.

Private schools in Austria account for about 8% of the total number. Most publicly accredited private schools are denominational. There are also some schools that are not publicly accredited and teach according to a particular school system that is not officially recognised in Austria. Private schools are fee-paying establishments. There are no school fees in public schools, although there are costs for the parents' association, school events, etc. The quality of state schools is high in comparison with some other education systems in Europe.

Text last edited on: 05/2021

Cultural and social life

Most Austrians spend a considerable part of their leisure time in clubs and societies. Weekends are used to visit friends and relatives, go on excursions, take part in leisure activities (go to the cinema, theatre, etc.), play sports or pursue activities in clubs and societies.

Depending on the cultural facilities that are available to them, Austrians use their free time in the evening to spend time with their families, go to the cinema, the theatre or concerts. In rural areas people still meet in the evening at the local inn/tavern or at clubs and societies. Sport also plays a major role in leisure activities. Jogging and fitness walking, cycling and swimming are among the favourite sports. Traditionally there have always been football clubs in many towns and villages. In most western provinces, skiing and snowboarding are very popular, particularly among children and young people (i.e. as part of a Skiverband, which is a skiing association). On lakes and other large water bodies there are sailing, surfing and rowing clubs.

Even in villages and smaller towns there are various clubs and societies (football teams, voluntary fire brigades, choirs, gymnastics clubs, traditional costume groups, bands, Scout troops, sports clubs, etc.). In larger towns and cities there is a wide range of cultural attractions (theatre, cinema, art exhibitions, concerts, etc.) and sport facilities (tennis, volleyball, gyms, etc.).

In most smaller areas the Catholic church has family, women’s and children’s groups (Jungschar) which focus on a wide variety of church-related themes. Very often the Catholic church is also committed to local, regional and interregional social projects (e.g. the projects sponsored by the Sternsinger – children who go from door to door at Epiphany time singing and fundraising). In cities, other religious communities (Evangelical Church – Augsburg and Helvetian Confessions – Islamic Community of Austria, Israelite Religious Community, Austrian Buddhist Community, Orthodox churches, etc.) also offer further opportunities for social engagement, and cultural and recreational activities.

You can find an overview of opportunities for recreational and club activities at your municipality’s town hall, and in regional and national daily newspapers.

Text last edited on: 05/2021