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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.



There are no uniform rules in Austria for the formal recognition of qualifications from abroad. Instead, there are a number of federal and state laws. Different authorities and institutions, including educational institutions, are responsible. Therefore, procedures, costs and duration, etc. can vary. A distinction is drawn between the recognition of qualifications for further or higher education and the recognition for the purposes of practicing a profession.

Please contact us for further information or check out the contact point for persons with foreign qualifications.

EU/EEA, Swiss citizens

Based on the free movement of workers within the European Union, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens can work in Austria without a work permit. For Croatian citizens a transition period regarding access to the labour market currently applies which ends on June 30, 2020. For more information about the transition period see

Third-country nationals

In order to immigrate to Austria, third-country nationals need a Red-White-Red Card (Rot-Weiß-Rot Karte). This card offers qualified workers from non-member countries and their families the chance to stay in Austria and work for a specific employer. The Red-White-Red Card must be applied for at the responsible settlement and immigration authority (district or municipal authority) or at the representative authority abroad (embassy) in person or by the employer in Austria. For further details please check 

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 offers.

The employment contract defines the legal basis of employment. It is an agreement between the employee and the company regarding factors such as working location, area of responsibility, working hours, salary or the underlying collective agreement. There are temporary as well as permanent contracts, and a probationary period is often included. 

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

  • 40 hrs/week (statutory working hours)
  • 38.5 hrs/week (possible arrangement in a collective agreement)
  • 8 hrs/day (as a rule but may differ)
  • 10 hrs/day (maximum allowed working time per day, including overtime)
  • 50 hrs/week (maximum allowed working time per week, including overtime)

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 monthly salaries per year - the additional holiday subsidy in summer and Christmas subsidy are being taxed less than the normal monthly salary.

The Gross-Net Calculator from the Federal Ministry of Finance helps to calculate the taxation.

Employees are obliged to inform the employer as soon as possible about any inability to work on the first day. The start 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.

Foto: Evelyn Hetzinger

Evelyn Hetzinger

All around Upper Austria


Business Upper Austria - OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH

Mobile: +43 664 8481271
Phone: +43 732 79810-5198
Foto: Bettina Török

Bettina Török

All around Upper Austria


Business Upper Austria - OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH

Mobile: +43 664 9642517
Phone: +43 732 79810-5060