Workers Rights

Holiday entitlement

In general, employees receive 5 weeks holiday per year. A week off has five vacation days. If certain criteria are met (for example 25 years of service at the same employer, 18 years of service in addition to previously accrued years of service), 6 weeks are possible, although this should be clarified in each case. Holidays have to be arranged with the employer. In addition to their holiday entitlement, employees are off work on public holidays.

Sick note

Employees are obliged to inform the employer as soon as possible about any inability to work on the first day. The commencement of the inability to work is stated by the doctor in the sick note, which should be presented to the employer. Normally a doctor is responsible for informing the relevant social insurance authority that the patient has recovered. However, if the sick note does not indicate a set end date for the inability to work, employees may have to register as recovered themselves.

Sick leave

During sick leave, employers pay a full salary for the duration of:

  • 6 weeks, if the employee has been employed for less than 1 year
  • 8 weeks, if the employee has been employed between 1 and 15 years
  • 10 weeks, if the employee has been employed between 16 and 25 years
  • 12 weeks, if the employee has been employed for more than 25 years

Half of the regular salary will be paid for a further 4 weeks. The state health service takes care of the salary for a certain period of time if the employer no longer provides a salary.

Notification of pregnancy to the employer

A medical confirmation of pregnancy should be presented to the employer as soon as you know you are pregnant. From this point in time, the pregnant woman is protected from dismissal by the employer and has special protection rights. Please note that dismissal during the probationary period because of pregnancy is not allowed, but in general, there is no protection against dismissal in the probationary period.

Educational leave

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. According to unemployment insurance regulations (Arbeitslosenversichungsgesetz or AlVG), employees are entitled to the equivalent unemployment benefit during educational leave – as long as evidence of further training of at least 20 hours a week is provided, and they are eligible for pension benefit entitlements. For employees taking educational leave with children, these requirements differ.

Part-time educational leave

Known as Bildungsteilzeit (from a minimum of four months up to two years), this is suitable for education with an ongoing working relationship without the need to arrange leave. Persons are entitled to a part-time education allowance (Bildungsteilzeitgeld) during part-time educational leave, provided that the previous standard working hours were unchanged for at least six months. Prerequisites are the fulfillment of pension benefit entitlements and a certificate confirming further education of at least 10 hours a week.


Commuter allowance

Employees are entitled to a commuter allowance (Pendlerpauschale) under certain conditions:

  • Is it possible/feasible to use public transport?
  • What is the distance between the place of residence and the workplace? If you want to find out whether you are entitled to the full or partial commuter allowance and to calculate the allowance, you can use this calculator:

Mileage allowance

The official mileage allowance covers all costs incurred through the use of a private motor vehicle during business trips (such as wear and tear, insurance, fuel, additional equipment). If the employer pays less for the mileage driven for professional purposes than the permitted maximum or pays nothing at all, the difference is tax deductible.

Maternity allowance

During the maternity protection period (Mutterschutz), women are not allowed to work. From the beginning of this period, employed women can apply for maternity allowance (Wochengeld), which is a financial support to compensate for the loss of income. This is normally paid monthly in arrears and applied for at the responsible social insurance authority. A confirmation of employment and salary must be presented to receive maternity allowance, or a medical certificate with the predicted birth date.

Family allowance

Parents receive a so-called family allowance (Familienbeihilfe), which is independent of income. This can be applied for at the local tax authority. The basic requirements for entitlement to family allowance are a right of residence and the main place of residence in Austria in addition to sharing a household with the child.

For children living abroad, there may be circumstances under which you can receive family allowance.
>> Further information

Childcare allowance

There are two forms of childcare allowances in Austria, with different criteria to be met:

  • Income-based childcare allowance
  • Flat-rate childcare allowance

You don’t know if you are a candidate for one of these allowances?

Make an appointment for a consultation: Things change on a regular basis and questions relating to allowances can be a real bureaucratic minefield. The Chamber of Labour and your health insurance company will offer you good advice regarding your individual situation in a personal consultation.


Interest groups and workers` council

Interest groups

The Austrian Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer) is the interest group for employees in Austria and offers free legal advice relating to labour law and consumer rights. Legislation stipulates mandatory membership of the Chamber of Labour for all employees in a company.

Workers’ council

The workers’ council (Betriebsrat) is the interest group for the employees in a company. The areas of competence of the council relate to information, monitoring and checking (e.g. compliance with the collective agreement or workers’ safety regulations) and rights of intervention (improvement of working conditions, training, etc.). All rights and obligations of the workers’ council are legally defined, and the employees elect the council every four years. A workers’ council is not legally required.