General Information

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:

Management board members of joint stock companies [Aktiengesellschaften] generally do not count as employees as defined by Austrian employment contract regulations. Managing partners of limited liability companies [GmbH] do not count as employees as defined by Austrian employment contract regulations if they can exercise decisive influence over the company by virtue of their share and their rights arising from it.

There are special protection provisions for certain employees:

Since employment relationships are continuing obligations, their terminationGerman text requires a specific act of termination:

An exception to these regulations are temporary work contractsGerman text. They terminate upon expiry.

Social Insurance

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 also receive unemployment insurance. 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)].

Employees must be registered with the Austrian health insurance fund [Österreichische Gesundheitskasse] before employment has commenced (registration of employeesGerman text).

The insurance obligation ends when the employment relationship (or the employee's claim for remuneration) ends.

Tax Liability

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 officeGerman 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".

Last update: 03.05.2021
Please note
Approved by
Federal Ministry of Labour
Federal Ministry of Finance
Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection
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