According to Austrian employment contract regulations, employees [Arbeitnehmer], in German also known as "Dienstnehmer", are people who have a commitment to their employer to perform work due to a labour contractGerman text. Employment relationships are continuing obligations. They are aimed at performing work and are established by a labour contractGerman text that is concluded either in written form, verbally or by conclusive behaviour.
Essential characteristics of an employment relationship are the following:
- Personal dependence on the part of the employee (placement in the organisation of the company, being subject to directives of the employer, control, disciplinary responsibility, personal service obligation)
- Economic dependence on the part of the employee
- Right of salary (not an obligatory criterion)
Employees are fully protected by Austrian labour laws.
They shall be divided into four categories as follows:
- Employees [Angestellte]
- Workers [Arbeiter]
- Marginally employed people [Geringfügig Beschäftigte]
- Apprentices [Lehrlinge]
There are special protection provisions for certain employees:
- Adolescents (employment bans, special labour protection)
- ApprenticesGerman text (restriction of premature termination of the apprenticeship)
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers (employment bansGerman text, special working hours protection, protection from termination of employment and dismissalGerman text)
- Mothers/fathers on maternity/paternity leave [Karenz] or in parental part-time employmentGerman text (protection from termination of employment and dismissal)
- Reserves [Präsenzdiener], people carrying out alternative service [Zivildiener], women in training service [Ausbildungsdienst] (protection from termination of employment and dismissal)
- Employee representatives (protection from termination of employment and dismissal)
- Disabled peopleGerman text
Since employment relationships are continuing obligations, their terminationGerman text requires a specific act of termination:
- Termination [Kündigung]
- Termination by mutual agreement [einvernehmliche Auflösung]
- Dismissal [Entlassung]
- Resignation without notice [Austritt]
An exception to these regulations are temporary work contractsGerman text. They terminate upon expiry.
Employees are covered under health insuranceGerman text, retirement pension insuranceGerman text and accident insuranceGerman text plans according to the provisions of the General Social Insurance Act [Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz (ASVG)], provided that their remuneration exceeds the marginal earnings threshold [Geringfügigkeitsgrenze]. As well as being entitled to sick pay [Krankengeld] and maternity allowance [Wochengeld], employees are also insured against unemployment. According to the General Social Insurance Act an employee is a person who is liable to income tax according to the Income Tax Act of 1988 [Einkommensteuergesetz 1988 (EStG 1988)].
The insurance obligation ends when the employment relationship (or the employee's claim for remuneration) ends.
Employees in Austria do not need to transfer income tax to the tax office themselves. Instead, it is automatically deducted from their gross salary by the employer and transferred to the tax office by him or her. Income tax on employment is also called earnings tax (Lohnsteuer).
Employees can carry out an annual tax assessment [Arbeitnehmerveranlagung, formerly known as Lohnsteuerausgleich] in order to claim a refund at the tax office responsible for their place of residenceGerman text if they have paid too much earnings tax.
In some cases, employees are obliged to carry out an annual tax assessment. Information on when compulsory tax assessments are carried out can be found in the chapter "Allgemeines zur Arbeitnehmerveranlagung".
Federal Ministry of Finance
Federal Ministry of Labour, Family and Youth
Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection