Labour Rights in English
- What is an employment contract?
- What does it mean having an employment contract?
- What are the components of an employment contract?
- What types of employment contracts are there?
- Termination of employment contracts
- An employment contract is a written agreement between an employer and an employee. The employee offers his/her services to the employer in return for payment (remuneration).
- Every employment relationship between an employer and an employee must be documented by an agreement.
- This can take the form of a detailed written employment contract or a service note containing only the most important points.
- Both parties must sign the document voluntarily.
If you are not sure whether your service note or employment contract is according to labour law, get advice from the Chamber of Labour in your province at: https://www.arbeiterkammer.at/index.html
The employment contract implies rights and obligations for both the employee and the company, which must be respected regardless of the company or sector.
There is a wide range of labour law provisions that must be complied with: Notice periods, holiday entitlements, prevention of work, rest breaks and much more.
The Austrian Labour Code also foresees the possibility of a probationary period, which may last a maximum of 1 month. During this period, the employment relationship can be terminated by either party at any time without observing a notice period or a deadline.
The service note required by law must contain at least the following information:
- name and address of employer and employee.
- beginning of the employment
- end of employment (in the case of fixed-term contracts)
- period of notice, date of termination, if applicable
- place(s) of work
- intended use
- amount of basic salary in euros, special payments, due date of remuneration
- amount of leave
- agreed normal daily or weekly working hours
- collective agreement, statutes, minimum wage agreement, company agreements, etc.
- name and address of the employee’s pension fund.
In the more detailed employment contract, these details are described in greater detail, as well as the obligation to work, confidentiality, etc.
- unlimited contracts: full-time contracts, part-time contracts and, as a variant, marginal employment.
- temporary contracts
- seasonal contracts: catering, construction, agriculture, etc.
- occasional employment contracts: e.g. case-by-case marginal part-time workers.
- temporary employment contracts
- apprentice and internship employment contracts.
Basically, only unlimited contracts may be terminated by the employer.
Termination by mutual consent (dissolution). Employer and employee voluntarily agree to terminate the employment relationship at a certain point in time. No specific deadlines or dates need to be observed.
Employer's notice of termination: The employer must observe the notice periods. The employer may dismiss employees if he no longer has enough work, if he is not satisfied with the employee’s performance or behaviour. If you are not sure whether the reason is admissible, you should seek advice. If it is not admissible, you can appeal.
Dismissal is the termination of employment by the employer without notice. Possible reasons: Theft, betrayal of secrets, refusal to work, violence towards superiors or colleagues. The reason for dismissal must be given verbally or in writing.
- How does health care work in Austria?
- Who is covered by health insurance in Austria?
- Benefits of the statutory health insurance
- What do I have to pay for health services?
- How are migrants covered by health insurance?
- What about people without health insurance?
- Unemployment benefit
- Other social benefits
In principle, everyone in Austria has equal access to all health services. This is made possible by a social insurance system based on solidarity and compulsory insurance.
However, health services are provided by both public and private institutions.
In addition to social health insurance, private supplementary insurance can be taken out.
All employed persons in Austria are compulsorily insured. Exception: marginally employed persons.
If someone has a job that is subject to compulsory insurance, family members or life partners are also insured: spouses, registered life partners, life partners, and children under 18 years of age.
Special regulations exist for pensioners, the unemployed, recipients of minimum benefits, social assistance, and asylum seekers.
There is also the possibility of self-insurance in the Austrian social security system, e.g. for marginally employed persons, students, etc.
Self-employed persons and entrepreneurs pay their health insurance contributions as part of their social insurance.
People without health insurance have to pay for the costs of health services themselves - except for first aid services.
- Preventive and health check-ups for the early detection of diseases for adolescents and adults
- Sickness treatment
- Medical assistance, medication
- Institutional care or, if necessary, also medical home nursing.
In general, health services are free of charge for people with health insurance. However, for certain additional services, with certain insurances, there are also deductibles to pay. A standard prescription fee must be paid for medicines. People with low incomes can be exempted from this fee.
Migrants who come to Austria and are not yet employed must provide proof of private health insurance as part of their visa application. This must cover the duration of the visa applied for.
Asylum seekers are covered by basic health insurance and have access to basic health services.
Persons entitled to asylum without employment are covered by health insurance under the minimum income scheme.
People without health insurance have to pay for the costs of health services themselves - except for first aid services.
There are various facilities and organisations that offer medical help for people without health insurance:
Unemployment benefit is paid under the following conditions:
- You are unemployed, can and want to work.
- You are registered as unemployed with the AMS.
- You are employable on the labour market.
- You are willing to work at least 20 hours per week. Exception: childcare obligations: Then you should want to work at least 16 hours per week.
- You must have worked for a certain period of time subject to unemployment insurance:
52 weeks during the last 2 years or, from the second application, at least 28 weeks in the last year.
Minimum income support or social assistance: for people who are not able to maintain themselves financially. There are separate amounts for individuals, couples, children, etc. Each province determines the amount of the contribution itself.
For children whose parents have their centre of life in Austria and live with the child or the children in a common household.
- Austrian citizens, EU/EEA citizens & Swiss citizens
- Third-country nationals, if they reside permanently in Austria.
- Recognised refugees and persons entitled to subsidiary protection under the Asylum Act.
Family allowance is available for all children up to the age of 18. For children over 18 there is only family allowance (up to max. 24) if they are in education: Apprenticeship, school, university, technical college, etc.
If you need care, you get care allowance. The amount depends on the amount of care required: there are 7 levels. Prerequisite: More than 65 hours of care must be required per month. The amount of care required is determined by a doctor.
Asylum seekers, persons granted subsidiary protection and persons entitled to asylum (up to 4 months after being granted asylum) and rejected asylum seekers who cannot be deported receive this benefit.
- Minimum wage
- What else is deducted from the salary?
The wage tax is calculated from the salary and also from the special payments.
Austria has a so-called progressive tax system, which means that the higher the income, the higher the tax: between 20 and 55%.
Wage tax is only due on gross wages above € 1,099.33 (currently).
Must be paid by self-employed persons and companies on their income from self-employment, also includes rental income etc.
Taxes for all:
Value added tax VAT
Must be paid by everyone when shopping. VAT is included in the price.
In Austria, VAT is normally 20 per cent.
There is also 10 per cent and 13 per cent VAT:
10 per cent: food, medicines, newspapers, magazines, books, tickets for public transport, renting for residential purposes.
13 per cent: transport of live animals and plants, firewood, seeds, , cultural events, farm-gate sales of wine or accommodation in furnished living and sleeping quarters.
A statutory minimum wage is intended to protect employees from being paid too little.
In Austria, there is no general legally regulated minimum wage. However, there are minimum wages in the collective agreements, which then only apply to the respective sectors.
Almost all collective agreements provide for 14 wages per year, so the minimum wage is actually 1,750 euros per month. But there are also exceptions where the minimum wage is less than 1,500 euros per month, e.g. florists.
In addition to wage tax, the following is deducted from the salary:
Social insurance SV is deducted from the salary:
Employees who earn more than the marginal earnings threshold (currently 460.66 euros) must pay social insurance. Social insurance is deducted from the gross salary.
The social insurance consists of: pension insurance, health insurance, accident insurance, unemployment insurance, IESG surcharge, chamber of labour levy, housing subsidy contribution.
The share of social insurance is approx. 17%.
Employers also pay a social security contribution for their employees.
- What supporting organisations exist in Austria?
- The roles of ÖGB and AK
- Services for members
- Negotiation partners
- Contact details
- Works council
- Other supporting organisations
In Austria, the trade unions are under the umbrella of the Austrian Trade Union Federation ÖGB. There are seven different trade unions depending on the occupational sector. In each province, you will find a regional organisation with its own office. There is even a European office in Brussels.
You have to apply for membership in the trade unions and also pay a membership fee.
Another important contact and advice centre is the Chamber of Labour (AK), which also exists in every province. Membership of the Chamber of Labour is free of charge and automatic for employees.
In addition, there are numerous smaller, specialised institutions that also provide specific support and advice to migrants in matters of labour law.
What are their most important roles?
- They represent the interests of all employees, but also of people in training, the unemployed and pensioners.
- They are politically active: drafting legislation (parliament), social partnership, partners in social insurance, etc.
- They are negotiating partners: with employers.
- Trade unions support works councils in companies.
Trade unions and the Chamber of Labour offer a wide range of support and services for their members.
- labour law counselling
- representation in court in labour law proceedings
- answering questions on working time, sick leave, holidays, dismissal, redundancy, overtime, service contracts, pregnancy, maternity leave
- assistance with applications and forms
- workshops and further training courses
- low-cost insurances and discounts
- information brochures
Trade unions and the Chamber of Labour are negotiating partners in collective bargaining. They negotiate with employers on the level of wages and salaries as well as working conditions such as working hours, holiday entitlements, etc. This is beneficial not only for trade union members but for all workers and employees.
The Austrian Federation of Trade Unions ÖGB comprises seven different trade unions and is represented in all federal provinces:
The AK Chamber of Labour is also represented in every province: https://www.arbeiterkammer.at/index.html
The works council represents the interests of the employees in the company. The works council has many rights: it can conclude company agreements, have a say in dismissals, redundancies and transfers, etc. The members of the works council are elected by the employees. The members of the works council are elected by the employees. From five employees in a company, there is the right to a works council.
Ombudspersons for Equal Treatment
Ombudspersons exist in all federal states on all kinds of topics where people want to claim their rights. They deal with the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion, ideology, disability, age and sexual orientation.
The Service Agency for Equal Treatment and Anti-discrimination e.g. in Tyrol can be found at:
Interest group for migrants IG Migration
They offer special support and counselling for migrants.
migrare - Centre for Migrants
Offers counselling, educational events, women's counselling, health, job search, etc. Services are offered in various languages. www.migrare.at/
KOMPASS - Counselling Centre for EU Citizens (Vienna)
Offers many counselling services, also in the field of labour law. These are available in many EU languages.
Provides support for people with learning difficulties and disabilities in the labour market, including people with a refugee and/or migrant background.
ITWORKS Jobservice Tyrol
Supports people with a refugee background to gain a foothold in the Austrian labour market with education, networking, empowerment, sustainable integration.
KAOS Education Service
Advises and supports people in their professional and personal development. The target group are people disadvantaged in the labour market.
- Working conditions and security standards
- Which organisations can I get in touch with?
- Working hours and rest breaks
- Safety standards at the work place
With the start of an employment relationship, employers and employees assume the obligation to respect each other's rights and to fulfil their obligations.
These include: observance of working hours, rest breaks, weekly rest, overtime or extra hours, holiday entitlement, termination, employee liability, maternity leave, care leave and precautions to ensure workers' safety.
Safety at work is regulated by the Workers' Protection Act and working conditions by collective agreements.
The labour inspectorate, the agricultural and forestry inspectorates of the provinces as well as separate organisations for the public service are responsible for monitoring compliance with employee protection regulations.
In case of problems with compliance with working conditions, one can turn to trade unions, the Chamber of Labour and ombudspersons for equal treatment.
Normal working hours are 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. However, many collective agreements provide for shorter normal working hours (e.g. 38 hours per week). This is regulated in the collective agreement.
You may not work more than 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week. Over a period of 17 weeks, you may not work more than 48 hours per week. Overtime must be paid.
Rest breaks: After six hours of work, you are entitled to a half-hour break.
Weekend rest and weekly rest:
Workers are entitled to a rest period of 36 hours at a stretch in each calendar week, in which Sunday must fall.
Weekly rest: If you have to work during a weekend, you get a rest period of 36 hours at a stretch during the week (at least one full calendar day).
Holiday rest: On public holidays you must rest for at least 24 hours. For all female workers!
Overtime - Extra hours
You are allowed 20 hours of overtime per week. In the case of part-time employment, we use the term of overtime.
Holiday entitlements: There are 5 weeks of paid holiday per working year. 5 weeks are 25 working days based on a working week from Monday to Friday.
Termination: There is employee termination, termination by mutual consent (dissolution) and employer termination. There are no time limits for termination by mutual consent, but there are for the other forms of termination, with the exception of dismissal.
Probationary period: is max. 1 month.
Employee liability: Employees are only liable to a limited extent for damage caused at work. This is all regulated in the Employee Liability Act.
Maternity leave: There is a protection period of 8 weeks before the birth and maternity protection 8 weeks after the birth. During this period, the woman may not work, but receives her salary.
Care leave: In order to be able to care for a sick child or a sick relative at home, one gets 1 week of leave per year.
Safety at work is a right and a duty for workers and employers and must always be ensured, regardless of the sector, company or function.
Safety precautions serve to prevent occupational risks.
Every company must observe regulations for its workplaces and create optimal conditions for workers so that work activities can be carried out in the best possible way and with the greatest possible safety.
The responsibility for prevention measures lies with the employer.
Each enterprise must select a person who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the occupational health and safety regulations. This person is the contact person for the labour inspectorate and must provide information.
Depending on the size of the enterprise, it must provide one or more first aiders (with appropriate first aid training) and a person responsible for fire fighting and evacuation. First aid kits and fire extinguishers must be available and freely accessible in every enterprise.
Every enterprise must carry out a workplace evaluation and draw up a health and safety document for this purpose. All workers must be informed about the measures and requirements.
- Ali Amiri
- Silvia Desheva
- Omer Duzgun
My name is Ali Amiri.
I am 30 years old, I come from Afghanistan.
I have been living in Innsbruck (Austria) for 5 years now. I am working as a sports trainer as well as a project assistant with refugees and asylum seekers at Compass GmbH. Currently, I am also taking evening classes in order to graduate from High School.
My motto: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” WALT DISNEY
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Silvia and I am a Bulgarian lost in Austria. I have been living in Austria for one year and a half, working on EU projects for migrants` integration focusing on capacity-building activities, such as soft-skills training. My work allows me to get to know the challenges and success stories encountered by different migrant communities in Innsbruck. I have lived in different countries, among the ones I stayed for long have been Germany, Egypt, Italy, and now Austria, allowing me to experience what being a migrant is in quite diverse contexts and environments.
My motto: Only forward, never backwards!
My name is Omer Duzgun. I was born in Turkey but my family of origin is from Georgia. I migrated to Austria from Turkey when I was 14 years old, and I have grown in Austria. I have worked in an NGO with the main focus on social inclusion, and I took the opportunity of working with different groups from the Tyrolean region, these groups consisted of local community, migrants from different nationalities and other disadvantaged groups. That enabled me to get to know the cultural issues of the host country and realise other disadvantaged groups’ needs, and I could share my experience as a worker with a migration background.
My motto: The soul is the colour of your thoughts. (Marcus Aurelius).