Employment in Austria


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Working in Austria

To find a job in Austria it is a great advantage if you speak good German. Professional training completed in your home country can be recognized in Austria. This can take a while. A link to counseling institutions for this in different federal states can be found below. Job search is sometimes difficult; you have to write many applications until you find a job. It is important not to give up. Sometimes it is not possible to do the same job you had in your home country. In Austria, however, there are many jobs that help with job search.

How do I find a job in Austria?    

The Public Employment Service, AMS, helps with job search. It offers information and advice and can also promote job seekers through courses and job placement.
In every federal state (except Burgenland) there are also special counseling centers for migrants. A link to a list can be found below.
Refugees will also be helped in the integration centers of the ÖIF. These are available in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Graz, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck.
Open jobs are also advertised on the Internet or in newspapers. Many companies also publish job offers on their own website on the Internet. A list of job search engines can be found below.

Can I practice any profession in Austria?

No, in Austria you can only practice some professions with the respective training or license, even if you already have practical experience in this area, this is necessary. This is called “regulated trade”. Examples include: baker, shoemaker, hairdresser.

What types of employment are there in Austria?

In Austria there are different types of employment. Basically, we distinguish between self-employment and employment. If you work independently, you are usually employed by a company. You have a supervisor or an employer and you are a worker yourself. Employers and employees have an employment contract with each other. There are different types of employment contracts, depending on the number of hours worked per week.
It can be:

  • Full time (usually 38.5 hours per week)
  • Part time (usually 20 hours per week)
  • Minimal employment (10 hours on average per week)

Part-time workers are subject to the same employment regulations as full-time employees and have the same insurance coverage (health, accident, unemployment and pension insurance). Attention: marginally employed persons do not have this insurance protection!

A special form of employment is apprenticeship. Here, the training for a job at a workplace and at the vocational school takes place at the same time. Most young people start their apprenticeship after completion of compulsory education at age 15. To do an apprenticeship is also possible later.

In trade, many people work part-time. In tourism as well as in agriculture and forestry seasonal work is common. In construction, fixed-term employment contracts are also possible. Freelance service and employment contracts replace traditional employment contracts in all areas of work.

A detailed overview of types of employment in Austria can be found here:


Can I work without a contract?

If someone works without a contract, this is punishable for employers and employees. This is called “Schwarzarbeit” and a fine is to be expected. Those who work without a contract, also do not have health and pension insurance and will receive no unemployment benefits. Third-country nationals who are found to be in illegal employment must expect immediate expulsion and a residence ban of up to ten years.

Probationary period

Often, a probationary period is agreed in which the employment relationship between employer and employee can be terminated without prior notice and without giving reasons. Usually, the probationary period lasts one month, some collective agreements (which must be available at the work place) have a shorter time, apprentices have a three-month probationary period.

Employment contract

The employment contract regulates the rights and obligations of employees and employers, insofar as they are not mandatory by law or collective agreement. The main duty of the employer is the payment of the remuneration, the main duty of the employee is the work performance. An employment contract can not only be concluded in writing but also orally. However, the conclusion of a written employment contract before the start of the employment relationship is absolutely recommended for reasons of legal certainty.

What is a service note, what do I need it for?

In Austria, an employment contract does not have to be in writing, so you have no right to an employment contract. But if there is no written employment contract, then the employer must hand over a service note to the employee. A service note is the written record of the essential rights and obligations under the employment contract.

How do most people work in Austria? What is the normal working time?

A typical working week starts in Austria on Monday and lasts until Friday. Saturday and Sunday are days off for most people. The normal working hours amount to eight hours a day or 40 hours a week and are usually between 8 and 18 o’clock. However, many collective agreements provide for a reduced standard working time (for example, 38.5 hours per week). There are many exceptions. For example, a daily normal working time of nine hours is allowed if it results in a prolonged weekend rest (“short Friday”). The weekly normal working hours can be more than 40 hours if all conditions are met.

How much leave am I entitled to during the year?

In Austria, the employee has a statutory right to five weeks or 25 working days of leave per year. In addition, there are some political and many Christian holidays in Austria in which all employees and pupils are free. Every year, there are 13 holidays on which you get free in addition to your vacation days, unless they fall on a weekend.

Do I also get money when I am ill?

In the case of illness, the salary will continue to be paid for some time. How long depends on job and contract. Thereafter, you will receive sickness benefit from the health insurance in which you have previously deposited.


Overtime is when you work more than the statutory 40-hour normal working time or the 8-hour normal daily working time.
You will receive at least a surcharge of 50 percent for every hour worked. If you have agreed on time compensation, you will receive 1.5 hours compensation for one hour overtime.

In many collective agreements, e.g. for night, holiday and Sunday work higher surcharges provided.

The agreement to pay overtime in the ratio 1: 1 is prohibited!
If work is required, 5 overtime hours per week are allowed. In addition, the law allows for additional 5 hours of overtime on a weekly basis (for a total of 10 overtime hours per week), but only for a maximum of 60 hours per year. The daily working hours may not exceed 10 hours (including overtime).

Collective agreements may provide for even higher levels of overtime; In addition, additional overtime can be allowed by company agreement.


Rights & responsibilities of workers


In an ongoing employment relationship, employees and employers must inform each other in good time if they wish to terminate the employment contract. The deadlines are different depending on the profession, but there are legal obligations to inform each other about the termination within a certain period of time.
As soon as you know when your employment ends, you can register for unemployment benefits with the AMS and apply for unemployment benefits.
In the probationary period a termination from both sides without giving reasons is possible. Even in sick leave a notice is possible. But the employer must also meet deadlines and deadlines.


Right to work

Asylum seeker

Access to the labor market: Refugees can apply for an employment permit after three months in the asylum procedure. However, they are only allowed to work for a limited period of time for a maximum of six months in tourism and agriculture. Asylum seekers under the age of 25 may also receive an employment permit for apprenticeship. The prerequisite is that there is demonstrably a shortage of apprentices in the specifically applied job.

Charitable Auxiliary Activities: According to the Basic Welfare Act, asylum seekers may undertake nonprofit auxiliary activities in the federal, state or local government. No employment permit is required for this. Auxiliary activities are also allowed in the accommodation under supervision (eg cleaning, kitchen operation, maintenance). The charitable work may not jeopardize or replace a regular job. It must also not compete with commercial providers. We recommend a written agreement on the nature and duration of the auxiliary activity as well as the amount of the recognition fee. The amount of the recognition fee is not regulated by law. In Vienna, a contribution between 3 and 5 euros per hour is common.

Service check

The service check (DLS) is a means of payment and a wage for people working in private households. Asylum seekers may work with DLS if they have been admitted to the asylum procedure for at least three months. The service check allows you to pay for simple, household-related jobs, such as cleaning or lawn mowing. At least 11.75 euros per hour are charged for working with a service check. The additional income limits within the framework of the basic care must be observed. Asylum seekers are not allowed to earn more than 110 Euro per month plus 80 Euro / month for each family member. Any additional income is credited towards the basic services.


Refugees are allowed to self-employment if they have been admitted to the asylum procedure for at least three months.

Who registers for self-employment,
• loses the right to primary care.
• must take out self-insurance with the Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse (WGKK) and the Sozialversicherungsanstalt (SVA).
• must pay a chamber charge.
• must pay income tax.
• must comply with all trade and other legal regulations related to the commercial practice.

The Vienna Business Agency offers information for founders in 17 different languages as well as workshops on business planning, trade law, legal forms, taxes and duties.

Traineeship / work training

One possibility for refugees to gain practical experience is voluntary work. This work training serves to expand and apply knowledge or acquire skills for the practice. There is no obligation to work and no claim for remuneration. As a general rule, volunteers may not be used for auxiliary activities, simple work or work on construction sites. Refugees may, however, take on auxiliary and training activities in the initial phase, as this is where the promotion of integration is paramount. Trainers have to report the employment of foreign persons as volunteers to the Employment Service (AMS) and the AUVA. A traineeship lasts for a maximum of three months. An extension is not possible. A subsequent mentoring program is permitted. In mentoring, junior staff members are accompanied and supported by experienced employees for a certain period of time on their workplaces.


All persons living in Austria, without limitation to a certain citizenship, may do voluntary work – thus also asylum seekers. However, volunteers should not be employed under the title of “volunteerism” in employee-like conditions.

Holiday work placements and internships

Young asylum seekers who attend vocational secondary or higher education, colleges or universities sometimes have to complete work placements in companies as part of their training. The same rules apply as for all other students.

Granted protection

Asylum seekers (recognized Convention refugees) are on an equal footing with Austrians on the job market and do not need an employment permit.

Refugees[1] and persons with subsidiary protection[2] are explicitly excluded from the scope of the Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals. Thus, they are allowed to work without any work permit.

Family member of person granted protection

Family members of Third Country Nationals already residing in Austria are granted a residence permit “Red White Red Card plus” if they meet the general prerequisites for obtaining residence permits. The “Red-White-Red Card plus” grants its holders free access to the labour market.[3]

Employment services

Public and private, what they do, how to register, rights and obligations, where

The public employment service in Austria is called „Arbeitsmarktservice”, in short: AMS. Es hilft bei der Arbeitssuche. Es bietet Information und Beratung und kann Arbeitssuchende auch durch Kurse fördern und Stellen vermitteln.

In every federal state (except Burgenland) there are also special counseling centers for migrants. A link to a list can be found below.
Refugees will also be helped in the integration centers of the ÖIF. These are available in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Graz, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck.
Open jobs are also advertised on the Internet or in newspapers. Many companies also publish this on their own website on the Internet. A list of job search engines can be found below.

Unemployment insurance – conditions for receiving, how long

If you are applying for unemployment benefits for the first time, you must have worked at least 52 weeks in the last 2 years before applying. If it’s not the first time you apply for it, you need 28 weeks of employment within the last year.
If you are under the age of 25, 26 weeks of employment within the last year will be enough, if you are applying for the first time.
The amount you get is about 55 percent of your net income in the last year or the one before that. On this website you can find out how much unemployment benefit you will get: https://ams.brz.gv.at/ams/


Gross salary and net salary; income tax; pension insurance; guaranteed minimum salary; average salary

As an employed person you will receive a salary, which must always be paid out in money on your bank account monthly (for the previous month). You have to get a payroll with all the information on your salary every month.

How much you get paid depends on collective agreements and / or internal company agreements as well as on individual factors such as age, qualifications, hours of work, distribution of tasks (position), etc.

The whole salary (gross salary) includes social security contributions which are compulsory: insurance for health, old age, unemployment and disability. This means that when you start working with employment contract you are automatically insured and have basic health insurance; you are also contributing to pension funds, from which pensions are paid once you retire. You are also insured in cases of work related disability and entitled for unemployment benefit (if your work contract is cancelled without your fault) and paid parental leave (certain conditions apply). Your employer will withhold your part of the contributions and pay them together with his own contributions.

The amount without contributions represents your net salary – the amount you will receive on your bank account.

With a gross-net-calculator (Brutto-Netto-Rechner ) one can find out how much of the salary remains after deduction of payroll taxes and social security contributions: https://bruttonetto.arbeiterkammer.at/

In Austria, there is no universally defined minimum wage. However, there are so-called collective agreements (Kollektivverträge) for almost every industry. These are agreed between the social partners (Chamber of Labor, Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Agriculture and Trade Union Confederation) and include all the rights of the respective employees and employers of an industry. If there is a collective agreement for a certain industry, then the respective minimum wage is fixed there as well. An overview of collective agreements can be found here: http://www.kollektivvertrag.at/cms/KV/KV_0

The average net monthly income (14 times) of workers and employees in Austria in 2016 was around 2,570 euros.

Representation of the employees

The representation of workers in Austria is taken over by the Chamber of Labor and the Austrian Trade Union Confederation. Membership in the Chamber of Labor is automatic, but you have to join the union and pay a union fee. The Chamber of Labor offers free telephone and personal advice on employment law and the protection of workers. There is a lot of useful information for workers on the website of the Chamber of Labor.

What is a works council, what do we need it for?

The works council is responsible for representing the interests of employees at the level of the company. He is elected for 5 years by the employees of a company.

A works council can be formed from five employees. The works council election is a matter for the workforce and not the employer.

The main task of the works council is to represent the employees towards the entrepreneur. Works councils are consulted, for example, in the context of unilateral dismissals or hiring and inform workers in matters of labour law.

Further information can be found on the website of the Chamber of Labour.


Starting your own business; types of legal entities; self-employment subsidies; taxes; where to find help and support

In order to be self-employed in Austria, you should already be able to speak German very well. There are many bureaucratic aspects that you need to carefully consider when it comes to self-employment (including taxes, insurance, business licenses, corporate legal forms, etc.), so it’s a good idea to use the time as an asylum seeker to find out about it.
The business incubator of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber advises people who want to work independently in Austria. But there are also seminars and workshops around the topic of self-employment.

The Vienna Business Agency has its own contact point for Migrant Enterprises, which offers free advice and workshops.

Further information & links

Vienna Business Agency

Links for reference:

Q&A – possible questions

Who will advise me on the recognition of qualifications that I have acquired in my home?

Who helps me to find a job?
A list of advice centers can be found here:

How can I find a job on the internet?
A list of job search engines can be found on the AMS website:

Where can I find information about founding a works council?
Detailed information is available on the website of the Chamber of Labor:

[1] Refugees are persons who were granted asylum under Art 3 asylum act. 

[2] Subsidiary protection means that am expulsion is prohibited on grounds of the ECHR, see Art 8 asylum act.

[3] Art 17 Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals.