Working in Austria – types, contracts, rights, annual/sick leave, hours

Good language skills are very important in order to find a job quickly in Austria. Links to courses can be found here

Recognition: Already completed training can be recognized in Austria. That usually takes some time. Consultation here and here.

The job search often takes a lot of time, often many written applications are necessary, until you have found a job. Job search assistance is provided by the Public Employment Service. The AMS also promotes job seekers through courses (eg German courses) and provides information on how to apply correctly and professionally.

Do I have the right to work?

Working hours: A typical working week starts on Mondays and ends on Friday. Saturday and Sunday are work-free for most people. Normal working hours are 8 hours / day, usually between 8am and 6pm.

Forms of employment: Basically, a distinction is made between independent and dependent work in Austria. If you work independently, you are usually employed by a company. Depending on the number of hours, there are different employment contracts:

  • Full time (usually 38.5 h / week)
  • Part time (usually 20 h / week)
  • slight (average 10 h / week)

Salary: We distinguish between gross (salary before deduction of taxes) vs. net salary (salary after deduction of taxes). In Austria, taxes are always deducted automatically by the employer, and the net salary is paid. For job advertisements, the gross salary is stated. How much is left after deduction of tax can be calculated on this website.

Illicit work: Working without a contract (often referred to in German as “undeclared work”) and therefore also without the payment of health and pension insurance contributions is a punishable offense for employers and employees in Austria.

Vacation: Each employee is entitled to 25 working days of vacation per year. In addition, there are 13 political or religious holidays where all employees and students are free.

Legal advice: The Arbeitererkamer (AK) provides free telephone or personal advice on employment law (contracts). Every employee automatically becomes a member of the AK. In addition to the AK, the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) represents the interests of the employees.

Sick leave: If you are sick, the salary will continue to be paid first. How long depends on job and contract. Thereafter you will receive sickness benefit from the health insurance.

Protection against discrimination

A job may only be awarded in Austria on the basis of suitability and not on the basis of gender, origin or religion. Job applicants are entitled to compensation. Find advice in German here.  

The chamber of labour (Arbeiterkammer) and the union (Gewerkschaft) offer support in the event of discrimination at working, further information on this topic can be found on the website of the Equal Treatment Office. Information on wearing a headscarf at work can be found here.

What employment services are available to me?

The AMS has special counseling centers for migrants. The integration centers of the ÖIF can also help with finding a job. In Vienna, the counseling center for migrants supports jobseekers.  Many companies are publishing vacancies on the Internet. You can find an overview here.

Mentoring programs

Statistics show that it is much more difficult for migrants to gain a foothold in the labor market than for Austrians. Reasons for this are, for example, poor language skills or incomplete recognition of qualifications. Qualified individuals often lack personal networks and informal knowledge of the labor market. The project “Mentoring for migrants” therefore focuses on networking and support in the application process by dedicated mentors. Conditions for migrants who want to take part can be found here.

Earnings and Tax

In Austria minimum wages are regulated in the collective agreements but there is no statutory minimum wage. Social partners have gradually agreed a nationwide minimum wage of 1500 euros gross. According to the Chamber of Labor, these are 10.09 euros gross per hour. As soon as you start working income tax and social security contributions are deducted automatically from your salary by your employer and paid  to the responsible authorities. More information here.

Working for Yourself

Regulated trade (and free trade) In Austria 

Some occupations can only be practiced with appropriate training or permission. This also applies if they have already worked in this field in their home country. A list of regulated trades can be found here.

Under what conditions may one register as a migrant a trade in Austria?

Information can be found on the website of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (Full version in German). Find a shorter version in easier German here.

The Vienna Business Agency also offers information on self-employment and mentoring.

Further Information and Links

the CONNECTION: Support for refugees and migrants aged 15- 25 years

Active unemployed: The largest independent unemployment self-organization in Austria