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Working life in Austria

Austrian labour law is extensive regarding rights and obligations. This chapter provides the most important information. Further details can be found on the websites of the Chamber of Labour and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce.

Job Search

The first port of call for job seekers is the Public Employment Service Upper Austria. It is represented in all districts, matches candidates with job openings and assists employers. In addition, it offers skills training, counseling and information. 
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Job Application

It is not advisable to submit a uniform application to various companies. Always adapt applications to the respective vacant position and the company. But what should your application include?
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Recognition of qualification

In Austria, there are no uniform rules for the formal recognition of foreign qualifications. Instead, you will have to deal with a number of federal and state laws. As various authorities and institutions are responsible, procedures, costs and durations, etc. can vary.
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Work permit

Based on the free movement of workers within the European Union, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens can work in Austria without a work permit
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Getting a part-time job besides studying

In addition to get some useful extra cash, having a part-time job can be a good way of gaining valuable work experience and networks alongside your studies. If you are a non-EU student, you can work within certain limits on a student residence permit. Quite a lot of fields of study in Upper Austria offer opportunities for employment already before graduation. If you are looking for a job, check out the career services your university has on offer.

Workers Rights

In general, employees receive 5 weeks holiday per year. A week off has five vacation days. Employees are obliged to inform the employer as soon as possible about any inability to work on the first day. And after working for more than six months for an employer, employees have the opportunity to take unpaid educational leave, from a minimum of two months to a maximum of one year in duration.
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Pensions are generally paid as soon as employees reach retirement age. Subject to certain provisions, employees may be entitled to payments even if they resigned. If the employee has worked for several employers, or in several jobs, it is possible to combine all contributions in one Corporate Pension Insurance Fund.
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Work and Family

Parents are legally entitled to parental leave (Karenz), which is unpaid time off work. This is possible until the end of the child’s second birthday, provided the child lives in the same household.
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Funding a Company

You always wanted to be your own boss? Found your own company in Upper Austria! The Upper Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKOÖ) is the interest group for entrepreneurs in Upper Austria and offers a diverse range of services answering all questions of commercial daily life. 
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Working hours and breaks

The full-time basis for working hours is regulated by the collective agreement. If there is no collective agreement, the information is provided in the works agreement (Betriebsvereinbarung). Generally, the following applies:

Working hours

  • 40 hrs/week (statutory working hours)
  • 38,5 hrs/week (possible arrangement in a collective agreement)
  • 8 hrs/day (as a rule, but this may differ)
  • 12 hrs/day (maximum allowed working time per day, including overtime)
  • 60 hrs/week (maximum allowed working time per week, including overtime)
  • 48 hrs/week (maximum allowed average working time over a period of 4 months)

Mandatory breaks

  • ½ hr break after 6 working hours
  • 11 hrs break between two working days (this can be shortened to 8 hrs according to some collective agreements)
  • Weekend: rest of 36 consecutive hrs

In Austria, all-inclusive agreements where overtime is not remunerated are often used. Nevertheless, staff may not work more hours than is legally allowed.
>>Find out more about mandatory breaks and resting hours

Employment contract

The employment contract defines the legal basis of employment. It is a contractual agreement between the employee and company regarding factors such as working location, area of responsibility, working hours, salary or the underlying collective agreement. There are fixed-term contracts as well as permanent contracts, and a probationary period is often agreed: during this time, both the employer and the employee can end the employment relationship at any time without giving a reason. Additionally, a notice period is defined which applies to both the employee and employer. The employment contract is based on the standards defined in the collective agreement and may only deviate in favour of the employee. If there is no employment contract, the employee must be provided with a notice of employment (Dienstzettel).

Collective agreement

The collective agreement (Kollektivvertrag) is an agreement between a union, acting as the representative for all workers within an industry, and the Chamber of Commerce, which represents companies. The agreement is negotiated annually, and its objective is to guarantee the same standards of pay and working conditions within an industry. An employee must not fall below the minimum wage defined in the collective agreement.


The negotiated gross salary is subject to social insurance and income tax. Both are deducted from the gross salary and paid directly by the companies. Most collective agreements include 14 salaries per year - the additional holiday subsidy and Christmas subsidy being taxed less than the normal monthly wage. The Gross-Net Calculator from the Federal Ministry of Finance helps to calculate the taxation.

Evelyn Hetzinger Ansprechpartnerin für Come2Upper Austria | Standortagentur Oberösterreich, Business Upper Austria Care Area: all around upper Austria

Evelyn Hetzinger

All around Upper Austria


Business Upper Austria - OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH

Mobile: +43 664 8481271
Phone: +43 732 79810-5198