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Day Nurseries for Children Under 3 Years

Day nurseries are day care facilities which are appropriate to the needs of babies and toddlers up to the age of three.

Each group only consists of a small number of children and a close cooperation with the parents is required.

The costs for day nurseries depend on

  • The authority of the day nursery
  • Possibly the parents’ income
  • The time the child spends in the day nursery

Children in this age group can also be cared for by day parents.

Day Care

The organisation of public day care facilities falls under the jurisdiction of the individual provinces in Austria. The degree of care, hours of operation, and costs can therefore vary accordingly.

Since the beginning of the day care year 2009/2010 the attendance of a day care centre in the morning (20 hours a week without lunch) during the year prior to the school entry is free of charge (the so-called "free kindergarten" [Gratiskindergarten]).

Since the beginning of the day care year 2010/2011 the attendance of a day care centre in the morning (at least 20 hours) from September to June (excluding school holidays) is obligatory for children who have reached the age of five until the 31 August. Additionally to the holidays and the days off from school a holiday of three weeks at the longest can be made.

Since the beginning of the day care year 2016/2017 the provinces are required to invite parents with children who have reached the age of four before the 1 September and are not yet registered for a place in a public day care facility to a parental conversation during which the child also must be present. In the course of this mandatory parental conversation the positive effects of the attendance of a day care centre on the child regarding the acquirement of social competences, the increase of the faculty of speech and communicative skills and of creativity are spotlighted. It will be recommended that the child attends a day care centre in the morning during the two years prior to school entry.

You have the choice between:

  • Public Day Care
  • Private Day Care
  • Day Care for Employees’ children

Public Day Care

The registration for a place in a public day care facility is done at the responsible municipal office [Gemeindeamt] or at the Magistrate [Magistrat], in some cases even in the day care centre itself.

In some municipalities or cities the fees depend on the parents’ income.

Private Day Care

If you would like to place your child in a private day care facility, it is best to personally decide which the appropriate one is and discuss it with the director of that facility.

Day Care for Employees' Children

Employee day care centres are in or near the place of work, and are at the disposal of the employees and their children.

Day Mothers/Day Fathers

Day parents care for one or more children at home in the family unit. You thus have the possibility of catering to the needs of the child. This is a considerable advantage particularly with the care of very small children. Usually the care times are more flexible with day parents than with day nurseries, day care, or children’s groups.

Day parents offer child care within the daily family life. They cook, play and do sporting activities with the children and offer a variety of toys.

Children's Groups

Children's groups represent an alternative to institutional childcare programs. They are created and directed by parents' initiative and with their substantial cooperation. In small groups of 6 to 15 children, depending on their age, their individual needs can be met.

Parents’ cooperation is necessary with both organisation and educational questions, and as required in practical matters (e.g. meal preparation, repairs, etc.).

The financing of children's groups is through parent contributions, public subsidies, and in some cases partially through childcare aid [Kinderbetreuungsbeihilfe], for example, for those newly returning to the workforce.

Child Care at Universities

Child care is of central interest for students with children, who are under particular stress when it comes to manage family and their respective professional and academic activities.

At most of the Austrian universities [Universität] child care facilities for students are available or are offered from the universities or the local Austria Student Union [Österreichische Hochschülerschaft].


If you do not yet want to place your child in a regular care program, however, nevertheless need temporary care for your child, then a babysitter is an alternative. You may use these services completely according to your individual needs and wishes. The care can be arranged in the environment to which the child is accustomed.


If you need a babysitter more frequently, then there is also the possibility of using a grandma or grandpa-for-hire service. Grandmas and grandpas-for-hire are not domestic help, but dedicate themselves exclusively to the care of children.

Afternoon Care of School-Age Children

Apart from after school care and private care of children, all-day schools and open schools offer alternative solutions.

In the all-day school, all children participate in afternoon care. Instruction and play time are distributed throughout the day. In the open school, instruction takes place in the morning, and additionally, there is the possibility of play-time care in the afternoon. The cost of this care depends on the level of the income.

Information about school care services in your proximity is available at the respective National School Council [Landesschulrat].

Au Pairs

Au Pairs are foreigners (mostly students) between the age of 18 and 28, who want to deepen the knowledge of German they have acquired abroad by their stay in Austria, and want to get to know the Austrian culture and way of life.

Foreign Au Pairs from third countries are actually excluded from the alien employment law [Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz], however, their employment must be notified at the Job Service Centre [Arbeitsmarktservice].

A host family may employ a foreign Au Pair from a third country if

  • the appropriate Job Service Centre [Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich] has been notified of this employment two weeks prior to its start and
  • the Job Service Centre (AMS) has issued a confirmation of notification.


A confirmation of notification is only issued if

  • The Au pair is not younger than 18 and not older than 28,
  • An authorised job agency was located,
  • The Au pair was not previously listed as au pair in Austria for longer than a year in the last five years
  • The degree and the economic salary of the work correspond with the Au pair relationship, which means
    • The Au pair shall get to know the country and people of Austria and shall deepen the knowledge of German acquired in their home countries with the help of the host family, and
    • The Au pair shall get part of the family life of the host family (at least one parent with a child) and shall help with the household chores including child care, and
    • The Au pair must proof a minimum of German knowledge (school lessons or one semester of studying or a language course) before the start of the employment by presenting a school report or other certificate in German or English translation and shall deepen their language skills by living with the host family.

The confirmation of notification will initially be issued for six months and can be extended for a maximum of six months under certain criteria.

Required Documents

Notification by the Host Family

  • Notification of the Au pair relationship
  • Sample Au pair contract, in which, the essential requirements of the Au pair relationship are established for both parties

Right of Residence of Au pair Workers

Au Pairs from the European Economic Area and member states of the European Union do not need a residence permit. If the stay lasts longer than three months, they must obtain a resident’s registration document from the authorities in the place of residence.

Au Pairs from EU or EEA Member States and from Switzerland

Au Pairs from EU or EEA member states and from Switzerland have the permission of residence in Austria and do not need a residence permit. However, they must apply for a registration certificate no later than four months after the start of the stay at the local immigration office [Aufenthaltsbehörde].

Au Pairs from Third Countries

Au Pairs from third countries need a residence permit [Aufenthaltsbewilligung – Sonderfälle unselbstständiger Erwerbstätiger] for the whole duration of the Au Pair relationship.

For the application of the residence permit the confirmation of notification of the Job Service Centre (AMS) is required.

Labour Law Basics

For the employment of Au Pairs the Law on Domestic Staff [Hausgehilfen- und Hausangestelltengesetz], which regulates claims under labour law, such as the right for holidays or continuing pay in case of sickness.

The wage of Au Pairs that have been employed from 1 January 2020 is at least 460,66 Euro (i.e. monthly marginal earnings threshold [Geringfügigkeitsgrenze nach ASVG]). This means a weekly working time of 18 hours including child care and little help with household chores.

Health Insurance and Accident Insurance

For the employment of Au Pairs a registration with the legal social insurance (ASVG) is required. The free board and lodging and the amount, which the host family has to pay for the private insurance of the Au Pairs and their participation in language courses and cultural events, are not included in the wage and therefore are non-contributory.

If the Au pair is employed under the subsistence pay (value 2020 is 460,66 Euro) the registration with the legal accident insurance is sufficient. A health insurance can be taken out for the Au pair at a private insurance company. Any foreign health insurance is only sufficient if the benefits are also granted in Austria.

Inclusion of Handicapped Children – Day Care Facilities

The entry in day care facilities is the first step for children into autonomy. Professionals who care for your child will give you some advice about the most suitable way of child care.

There are possibilities to place your handicapped child in public day care facilities, a day care centre with integration groups or a special kindergarten for handicapped children.

Especially in the pre-elementary age integrative education provides a chance for all children, because children have fewer prejudices and the social learning is very important in day care facilities.

When making your decision pay attention to the basic conditions:

  • Size of the group, accommodation, qualified staff, offered therapies etc.
  • The personality of the kindergarten staff also is very important. Please inform him/her exactly about the child's possibilities and needs.
  • If you decide for a public day care facility, it could be helpful to give information to the parents of the other children.
There is no legal claim on integrative placement in child care facilities.

Responsible Authority

In some provinces you can contact special helpdesks (e.g. helpdesk for integration of handicapped children in childcare facilities in Lower Austria [leading to German site]).

More Information

Additional information can be found on the German website at 

Last update: 07.02.2020
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