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Discover everything you need to know about Austria

Hire in Austria at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Austria

GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
40 hours/week

Overview in Austria

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Austria, located in the heart of Europe, is bordered by eight countries and features a diverse landscape dominated by the Eastern Alps and the Danube River. Its climate varies from continental to Mediterranean, influenced by its geographical diversity.

Historical Journey: Austria's history spans from the Paleolithic era through Celtic and Roman times to the influential Habsburg monarchy, which began in the 13th century. The Austro-Hungarian Empire lasted until World War I, after which Austria became a neutral, democratic republic and joined the EU in 1995.

Socio-Economic Landscape: Austria has a developed social market economy with a strong industrial base and service sector, supported by a comprehensive welfare system. Vienna, the capital, is a significant hub for international organizations. Tourism is vital, driven by Austria's Alpine scenery and cultural heritage.

Culture and Society: Austria has a rich musical heritage, being the birthplace of composers like Mozart and Strauss. Its cities display diverse architectural styles, and coffeehouses play a central role in social life. Alpine traditions influence cultural identity, with skiing and winter sports being popular.

Skill Levels: The workforce is highly skilled, with many holding tertiary education qualifications. Austria emphasizes vocational training and apprenticeships but faces a need for digital skills due to technological advancements.

Sectoral Distribution: The service sector dominates, employing many in tourism, transportation, and healthcare. Manufacturing remains robust in automotive, machinery, and chemicals. The technology and innovation sectors are growing, particularly in software development and biotechnology.

Workplace Culture: Austrian workplaces are formal and hierarchical, valuing direct communication, competence, and experience. Work-life balance is important, with legal entitlements to paid vacation and provisions for family-friendly work arrangements.

Emerging Sectors with Growth Potential: Austria is investing in green technology and renewable energy, aiming to lead in climate change mitigation. Digitalization is transforming all sectors, increasing demand for IT and cybersecurity expertise. The life sciences sector is also expanding, supported by a strong research base.

Taxes in Austria

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Employer Tax Responsibilities in Austria

Austrian employers are obligated to make several mandatory contributions:

  • Social Security Contributions:

    • Accident Insurance: ~1.3% of gross salary.
    • Health Insurance: 3.87% of gross salary.
    • Pension Insurance: 10.25% of gross salary.
    • Unemployment Insurance: 3% of gross salary.
    • Severance Payment Fund: 1.53% of gross salary for employees hired after January 1, 2003.
  • Other Mandatory Contributions:

    • Family Burden Equalization Fund: 3.9% of gross salary.
    • Chamber of Commerce: 0.32% to 0.40% of gross salary.
    • Municipal Tax: 3% of gross salary (only for employers with a permanent establishment in Austria).
    • Housing Construction Promotion Contribution: 1% of gross salary.

Tax Treatment of Special Payments:

  • 13th and 14th Salary Payments (Christmas and Holiday Bonuses) are taxed at a reduced rate up to a certain threshold.

Income Tax:

  • Austria has a progressive income tax system with rates from 0% to 55%.

Church Tax:

  • Members of recognized religious institutions pay an additional 1-1.5% of their taxable income.


  • Work-Related Expenses, Exceptional Expenses, and Special Expenses can reduce taxable income.

VAT System:

  • Standard rate: 20%, with reduced rates of 10% and 13% for specific services.
  • VAT Registration is required for businesses exceeding certain turnover thresholds.
  • VAT on Intra-Community Supplies is generally zero-rated, with the reverse-charge mechanism applying.

Tax Incentives:

  • Research & Development: 14% tax credit for eligible expenses.
  • Investment Incentives: Tax deduction of 10% or 15% for green investments, capped at €1 million per year.
  • Environmental Protection Incentives: Extended to renewable energy sources.
  • Various programs support new businesses, including tax breaks and subsidized loans.


  • Austrian Business Agency and Oesterreichische Kontrollbank provide information and administer incentive programs. Consulting a tax advisor is recommended for maximizing benefits.

Leave in Austria

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In Austria, employees are entitled to a minimum of 5 weeks (30 working days) of paid vacation annually, increasing to 6 weeks (36 working days) after 25 years with the same employer. Vacation entitlements for part-time employees are adjusted proportionally, and during the first six months of employment, vacation accrues at a rate of two days per month. Employees must generally use their vacation within the working year, though exceptions allow for carrying over unused days. Upon termination, unused vacation must be compensated.

Austria also observes thirteen official public holidays, including New Year's Day, Easter Monday, and Christmas. Additional regional or religious holidays may be recognized locally but are not national public holidays.

Other types of leave protected under Austrian labor laws include sick leave, with pay continuation varying by length of service; maternity leave, offering 8 weeks pre- and post-birth (extended in special circumstances); parental leave, available until the child's second birthday with potential childcare allowance; care leave for caring for relatives; and educational leave, allowing for 2 months to one year off for further training with a possible allowance. Additional leave types include sabbatical, special leave for family events, military leave, and leave for elected officials.

Benefits in Austria

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Austria offers a comprehensive package of mandatory employee benefits, anchored by a robust social security system that includes healthcare, accident insurance, unemployment benefits, and pensions. Employees contribute to this system alongside their employers.

Key Benefits Include:

  • Healthcare: Access to a public healthcare system with options for private supplemental insurance.
  • Accident Insurance: Compensation for work-related injuries.
  • Unemployment Benefits: Support during periods of joblessness, contingent on employment history.
  • Pension: Retirement income based on lifetime contributions, with options for private and company-sponsored plans.

Paid Time Off:

  • Annual Leave: Minimum of five weeks, increasing with age.
  • Sick Leave: Duration varies by tenure.
  • Public Holidays: Numerous throughout the year.

Parental Support:

  • Maternity Leave: 16 weeks paid leave.
  • Paternity Leave: One month unpaid.
  • Parental Leave: Extended leave with partial pay until the child is three.

Work-Life Balance:

  • Flexible Working Hours and Home Office options.
  • Wellness Programs: Including subsidized gym memberships and on-site fitness classes.

Additional Benefits:

  • Extra Vacation Days and Birthday Leave.
  • Financial Incentives: Performance-related bonuses and company cars.
  • Professional Development: Support for educational advancement.

Health Insurance Specifics:

  • Contributions are split between employer and employee.
  • Employees can choose from several public health insurance providers.

Retirement Planning:

  • Public Pension: Mandatory with contributions from both employer and employee.
  • Private and Company Pension Plans: Optional for enhanced retirement savings.

These benefits, combined with additional perks like meal vouchers and company discounts, make Austria an attractive location for employment, providing substantial financial security and support for employees.

Workers Rights in Austria

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Agreements in Austria

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Remote Work in Austria

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Remote work, known as Telearbeit, has grown in Austria, prompting adaptations in legal frameworks to accommodate this trend. The key legislation, the Remote Work Act (Telearbeitsgesetz - TeleArbG), effective from April 1, 2021, outlines specific rights and obligations for remote work, including the right for employees to request remote work, formal agreements on remote work terms, and employer obligations like providing work equipment and ensuring data protection.

Austria's robust telecommunications infrastructure supports remote work, though connectivity can vary in remote areas. Employers are advised to ensure employees have reliable internet options.

The Remote Work Act mandates clear written agreements on remote work arrangements, covering aspects like working hours, communication expectations, and data security. Employers must provide or compensate for work equipment and maintain occupational health and safety standards.

Additionally, Austria's legal framework for flexible work arrangements like part-time work, flexitime, and job sharing under the Austrian Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz - AZG) provides a basis for these arrangements, though specifics like equipment and expense reimbursements are generally left to employer discretion.

Data protection is crucial, with obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Austrian Data Protection Act (Datenschutzgesetz - DSG) requiring employers to implement measures like access controls and encryption to secure data during remote work.

Overall, while Austria's legal framework supports remote work, ongoing legislative updates and clear communication between employers and employees are essential for its successful implementation.

Working Hours in Austria

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In Austria, the Working Hours Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz, ArbZG) sets the framework for employee work hours, emphasizing a healthy work-life balance. The standard workweek is capped at 40 hours, averaged over 17 weeks, with a daily maximum of 12 hours. Collective agreements can adjust these limits, often reducing the standard week to 38.5 hours and allowing daily extensions to 10 hours under certain conditions.

Flexible working hours, or "Gleitzeit," permit employees to manage their schedules within set parameters, potentially extending daily work to 10 hours. Overtime is permissible, requiring employee consent unless in emergencies, and must be compensated at higher rates: 25% extra up to 6 pm, 35% until 8 pm, and 50% thereafter, on Sundays, and public holidays. Alternatively, time off in lieu of extra pay can be negotiated.

Mandatory rest includes a 30-minute break for work exceeding 6 hours and a 15-minute break for 4.5 to 6 hours of work. Lunch breaks are customary but not mandated by law, typically lasting one hour and not counted as work time.

Night and weekend work are regulated to protect employee well-being, with night shifts requiring consent and health checks every two years. Night work is generally prohibited for pregnant and breastfeeding women unless medically cleared. Working on Sundays needs local magistrate approval, often reserved for essential services, while Saturday work is more freely permitted but may attract higher pay rates as stipulated by collective agreements or legal standards.

Salary in Austria

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In Austria, understanding what constitutes a competitive salary involves considering various factors such as job title, experience, location, and industry. Salaries are higher in urban areas and within larger or high-demand sectors like IT and finance. Researching market rates can be done through salary surveys, job boards, and government resources. Negotiating a competitive salary requires evidence of your qualifications and understanding of the company's compensation structure.

Austria uses collective agreements negotiated by trade unions and employer associations to set minimum wages, which vary by sector and job type. The government introduced a €1,500 monthly minimum wage benchmark for full-time employees in 2017, implemented by 2020. For additional compensation, companies may offer bonuses, allowances for work-related expenses, and other benefits like private health insurance and company cars, which can significantly enhance the base salary.

Understanding payroll cycles is also crucial, with most employees being paid monthly and additional mandatory bonus payments twice a year. The payroll process involves calculating wages, deductions, and issuing payslips to ensure transparency. Public holidays may affect the timing of payments. Understanding these components helps in managing finances and negotiating employment terms effectively in Austria.

Termination in Austria

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In Austria, employment termination notice periods and severance pay schemes are governed by the Austrian Employment Termination Act (AVRAG). Notice periods vary depending on the initiator of the termination:

  • Employer's Notice Periods: These are based on the employee's length of service, starting from six weeks up to a maximum of five months for those who have been employed for over 25 years. Employers and employees can agree on longer periods, not exceeding six months.

  • Employee's Notice Periods: Employees are required to give at least one month's notice, ending on the last day of the calendar month, though this can be extended by agreement.

Severance Pay Schemes:

  • Old Scheme ("Abfertigung Alt"): Applies to employees who started before January 1, 2003. Eligibility for severance pay starts after three years of service, with the amount increasing with service duration, up to twelve months' gross salary after 25 years.
  • New Scheme ("Abfertigung Neu"): For contracts starting on or after January 1, 2003. Employers contribute 1.53% of gross salary monthly to an Employee Provision Fund. Employees can access these funds after three years, with flexibility in handling the funds upon termination or retirement.

Termination Types:

  • Ordinary Termination (Kündigung): Employers may terminate employment with notice, without needing to provide a reason.
  • Summary Dismissal (Entlassung): For serious misconduct, immediate dismissal is required, with a written justification.
  • Special Protection Against Dismissal: Applies to employees with at least five years of service in companies with five or more employees, requiring justifiable grounds for dismissal.

Additional Considerations:

  • Collective agreements may modify statutory requirements.
  • Certain employee categories, like those pregnant or on parental leave, enjoy protection against termination.
  • Involvement of a works council is necessary in some cases.

Employers should adhere to contractual and legal requirements, documenting all steps in the termination process to avoid legal disputes.

Freelancing in Austria

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In Austria, distinguishing between employees and independent contractors is crucial due to its implications on social security, taxes, and worker protections. Employees are under the company's control, economically dependent on one employer, integrated into the company, and receive fixed remuneration. In contrast, independent contractors have more freedom in their work approach, financial independence, use their own tools, and are paid per project.

Misclassification of employment status can lead to penalties, making legal consultation important. Independent contractors, or freelancers, enjoy flexibility but must adhere to specific contract structures like Werkvertrag or Dienstvertrag, and negotiate terms such as fees and scope of work clearly. Key industries for freelancers include IT, creative sectors, marketing, and consulting.

Freelancers must also manage their intellectual property rights, typically retaining copyright unless contractually transferred. They face specific tax obligations, requiring registration for income tax if earning over €11,000 annually and for VAT if turnover exceeds €35,000. Social security is self-managed, with mandatory health insurance and optional unemployment insurance among the offerings. Legal and tax advice is recommended to navigate these complexities effectively.

Health & Safety in Austria

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  • Austrian Health and Safety Laws: Centered around employer responsibility, risk-based approach, and employee participation, with the primary legislation being the Employee Protection Act (ASchG).
  • Employer Responsibilities: Include conducting risk assessments, implementing preventive measures, preparing safety documents, and providing training and health surveillance.
  • Employee Rights: Include receiving information and training on safety, participating in safety measures, and the right to refuse unsafe work.
  • Risk Assessment and Preventive Measures: Employers must identify hazards, assess risks, and document these assessments. They should follow a hierarchy of controls to mitigate risks.
  • Safety and Health Documents: Employers need to maintain a Safety and Health Document detailing risk assessments, preventive measures, and emergency procedures.
  • Employee Training and Information: Mandatory safety training and information provision on risks and preventive measures are required by the ASchG.
  • Health Surveillance: Certain high-risk jobs require medical examinations before and during employment.
  • Enforcement: The Austrian Labour Inspectorate enforces health and safety regulations, with powers to inspect, issue notices, and impose penalties.
  • OHS Management Systems: Implementation of systems like ISO 45001 is encouraged to improve OHS performance and compliance.
  • Workplace Inspections: Conducted based on risk, focusing on compliance and hazard prevention, with follow-up actions required for any violations.
  • Accident Reporting and Investigation: Serious accidents must be reported immediately, with all accidents requiring investigation to prevent recurrence. The AUVA handles compensation claims.
  • Protection and Compensation: Employees are protected against dismissal due to workplace accidents or illnesses, with mandatory accident insurance provided through the AUVA.

Dispute Resolution in Austria

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Labor Courts in Austria, known as Arbeitsgerichte, are specialized judicial bodies handling employment-related disputes. They operate at three levels: Regional, Higher Regional, and the Supreme Labor and Social Court. These courts deal with issues like unfair dismissal, wage disputes, and collective labor law matters.

Arbitration as an Alternative

Arbitration offers an alternative dispute resolution method, with parties able to choose ad-hoc or institutional arbitration panels, like those provided by the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC). This process is generally less formal than court proceedings.

The Labour Court Act and the Austrian Arbitration Act are key legal frameworks governing these courts and arbitration panels. Compliance audits and inspections are crucial for ensuring adherence to labor laws, conducted by internal and external auditors, and various government agencies.

Whistleblower Protections

The Whistleblower Protection Act (HSchG) of 2023 in Austria protects whistleblowers from retaliation, ensuring confidentiality and legal remedies for those facing unfair treatment after reporting misconduct.

International Labor Standards

Austria is committed to international labor standards, incorporating many ILO conventions into national law, which influences labor legislation and workplace practices, promoting fair treatment and preventing exploitation. Despite strong adherence, challenges like ratification gaps and enforcement issues persist.

Cultural Considerations in Austria

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  • Directness in Communication: Austrian business culture values directness, where clarity and efficiency are prioritized. This straightforward approach is seen as professional and helps in defining clear roles and expectations within teams.

  • Formality in Interaction: Formality is significant in Austrian workplaces, with a strong emphasis on using titles and last names until a closer relationship allows for first names. This extends to written communication, which also maintains a formal tone.

  • Non-verbal Communication: Non-verbal cues such as maintaining a respectful distance and making eye contact are important in Austria. These practices demonstrate attentiveness and respect, with a firm handshake being a sign of confidence.

  • Negotiation Style: Austrians prefer a cooperative and problem-solving approach to negotiation, emphasizing collaboration and trust. Negotiations are well-prepared, data-driven, and respectful, avoiding aggressive tactics.

  • Hierarchical Structure: Austrian businesses typically have a clear chain of command. Decision-making can be slow, as it often requires approval through several levels of management. Leadership is authoritative yet approachable, with a focus on both transactional and transformational elements.

  • Impact of Holidays: Understanding Austrian holidays is crucial for business planning. National and regional holidays can significantly affect business operations, with most businesses closing on statutory holidays and some observing regional variations.

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