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Working Life

Around the workplace

Austrian labor law is extensive regarding rights and obligations. This chapter provides the most important information. Further details can be found on the website of the Chamber of Labor www.arbeiterkammer.at > Beratung > Arbeit & Recht or on the website of the Chamber of Commerce under www.wko.at > Service > Arbeitsrecht und Sozialrecht.

Work permit

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 labor market currently applies, which ends on 30 June 2020. For more information about the transition period, see www.migration.gv.at > Types of Immigration > Mobility within the EU.

third-country nationals
In order to immigrate to Austria, third-country nationals need the 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) by the person or the employer in Austria.

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 limited as well as unlimited contracts, and a probationary period is often agreed.

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)
  • 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 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: www.bmf.gv.at > Berechnungsprogramme > Brutto-Netto-Rechner.

Sick note

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.