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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

Everything you need to know about annual leave in Austria

Considering an Austrian job offer or simply wondering how to make the most of your holiday entitlement? The Local explains how Austria's annual leave law works.

Camping tents in sunny grassy hills
Whether you use your holiday to explore more of Austria, travel further afield or visit home, here are the key rules to be aware of. Photo: Xue Guangjian/Pexels

We’ll start with the good news: as a worker in Austria, you have one of the most generous holiday allowances worldwide.

As a full-time employee, you’ll get 25 days of paid holiday as a minimum (and if you’re in it for the long haul, that rises to 30 days after 25 years, not necessarily all at the same company).

If you work part-time, the amount of paid holiday you receive is proportional: 20 days per year if you work four-day weeks; 15 days if you work three-day weeks, and ten days if you work two-day weeks.

Any additional holiday allowance will be regulated in either your collective agreement or employment contract; another good reason to read these documents carefully during the negotiation stage of a job offer! 

Depending on the company, the vacation year is either calculated from the first day you start working at the company, or using the calendar year.

More on working in Austria from The Local:

How much holiday can I take in my first year of a job?

During your first six months, as a full-time worker you accrue two days of paid leave for each month worked. This means that after working for one month you can take two days off; after working for two you can take four days off, and so on, but you can’t use your full 25-day allowance in these first six months. 

After six months, this no longer applies, and you can use your allowance whenever you agree with your employer.

How much holiday can I take at once?

For the most part, it depends on what you agree with your employer, but there are some rules to be aware of. For example, Austrian law states that as an employee you are entitled to take at least one vacation of at least six days during a working year.

Can I roll over holiday days?

In some situations, you may not want to use up your full allowance in one year, for example if you want to save your days for a big holiday or trip home.

In Austria, it’s most usual that you use up your allowance in the year it is granted for, but you can roll your days over for up to three years.

Note that it is against the law for you and your employer to agree for you to take payment instead of your holiday allowance. The only time this is possible is when your employment ends, in which case you can receive payment for any unused holiday days.

How does holiday pay work?

In Austria you get paid the same amount for days you take as annual leave as you would for any working day, which is called Urlaubsentgelt (holiday pay).

Austria also has the concept of a ‘holiday bonus’, which has a few different names in German: Urlaubsgeld, Urlaubszuschuss, Urlaubsbeihilfe and 14. Monatsgehalt. This isn’t regulated by law, but many employers pay out a ’14th month’ salary which is intended as a holiday bonus — it’s regulated by individual collective agreements or employment contracts. This is usually factored into annual salaries, in contrast to other kinds of bonuses.

Photo: Max Andrey/Pexels

Can my boss tell me when to take my holiday?

Well, it depends. In general, holiday dates are agreed between you and your employer, and by asking for the days you want as early as possible you will boost your chance of getting them.

Your employer does have the right to refuse a holiday request, but special circumstances need to apply that mean it would disadvantage the company, for example if there is a time-limited period where the company is especially busy.

Once the holiday has been agreed with the employer, your employer can only cancel it if there is a business emergency — in other words, if it is the only way to prevent the company suffering financial disadvantages — and in this case they need to compensate you for any costs you incur such as cancellation fees.

In general, your employer cannot force you to take holiday on a specific date, but they might have company-wide holidays in addition to your allowance (for example, many companies offer Christmas and New Year’s Eve as holiday) and there may be general guidelines, for example to ensure that not everyone takes the same two weeks off work.

On the other hand, in Austria you have the right to choose one day where your employer cannot refuse your holiday request. This is particularly useful if you want a religious holiday off work, or to plan for a family occasion or simply celebrate your birthday. You need to agree this in writing with your employer beforehand, at least three months before the date.

What if I fall sick on my holiday?

The Austrian law states that holiday is for rest, and no-one wants to fall ill on holiday.

You can have your holiday ‘converted’ to sick leave if you are ill for three days or more, and present your employer with proof such as a doctor’s note.

Can I take extra holiday unpaid?

There’s no specific provision for this in Austrian law, but it’s something that you and your employer can agree on together.

If you need the unpaid leave for a purpose other than holiday, you may be covered by another regulation. For example, fathers may take one month of unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, childcare leave is possible if your child is ill, and if employees need to take time off to care for a close relative, this is possible under law (if your company has more than five employees and you have been working for at least three months beforehand). It is also possible to take unpaid study or training leave in Austria.

What applies during my notice period?

It is generally still possible to take vacation that you have earned during your notice period.

At the end of the notice period, if you have not taken all the vacation you accrued, you get the remainder paid out to you. 

Public holidays

On top of your annual leave allowance, Austria has 13 national public holidays, and as many as 15 in some regions.

Some are fixed on specific dates whereas others are attached to religious festivals which are on different dates each year. Here’s the full list of public holidays nationwide:

January 1st (New Year’s Day)
January 6th (Epiphany)
Easter Monday (April 5th in 2021)
May 1st (Labour Day)
Ascension Day (May 13th in 2021)
Pentecost (May 24th in 2021)
Corpus Christi Day (June 3rd in 2021)
August 15th (Assumption Day)
October 26th (National Day)
November 1st (All Saints Day)
December 8th (Feast of the Immaculate Conception)
December 25th (Christmas)
December 26th (Boxing Day)

Some states have additional public holidays: March 19th in Carinthia, Styria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg; May 4th in Upper Austria; October 10th in Carinthia; November 11th in Burgenland; November 15th in Lower Austria and Vienna. 

However, note that you won’t actually get all these days off work. If the holiday falls on a weekend, there is no paid day in lieu, which means the actual number of days off varies year to year. This is the case in many European countries, but not in the UK for example.

On a positive note, there are three other bank holidays which are not national public holidays, but many Austrian employers still give them as paid days off: Good Friday (two days before Easter Sunday), December 24th and December 31st. 

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Do you have a question about working or other aspects of life in Austria? The Local gives you more than just the news; we are also here to support you in navigating work and life in your new home country. Get in touch with our editorial team at [email protected] and we will do our best to help you.

Note: This article was updated on October 20th to correct a typo in the sentence “This means that after working for one month you can take two days off; after working for two you can take four days off”. Thanks to the eagle-eyed reader who pointed this out.

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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Austria

If you are moving to Austria and planning to work once you're here, there are a few websites that you need to know.

Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Austria

Austria is certainly one of the best countries to work in, with strong labour laws that give employees access to public health insurance through their employers, a minimum five weeks of paid vacation and many rights for families.

The alpine country is also known for its high quality of living. Residents can enjoy cheap public transport, public schools and plenty of free or cheap cultural, sports and leisure options.

There are also many vacant jobs, and the country is aiming to make it easier for foreigners who have qualifications to come fill in those jobs – many in nursing and healthcare professions, but a lot in several other so-called “shortage occupations”.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

If you are planning to work in Austria, here are a few government or government-linked websites to know.

Migration.gv.at

It may not look very modern, but this website will have most of the things you’ll need if you want to move to Austria – especially coming from countries outside of the European Union.

This is where you will find the infamous “point calculator” to see if you get the minimum amount of points based on specific criteria (such as age, education, and language knowledge) to be able to apply for certain work-based residence permits.

There are also many pages explaining the different visas, permits, and many other issues with migration to Austria. The website has a very extensive and complete English version.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The 2022 salary requirements for Austria’s EU Blue Card

ABA – Work in Austria

ABA – Work in Austria is a department of the Austrian Business Agency, which operates under the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs in Austria.

The website has plenty of information – in English – about Austria, living and working in the country, and its job market. ABA – Work in Austria also offers services, including relocation and recognition of qualifications.

Vienna Business Agency

Another site aimed at expats and immigrants but connected to the City of Vienna. The website is entirely in English (there is a German version, too), and most of it will have tips and services for businesses and startups settling in the Austrian capital.

However, there is also an extensive advice area for foreigners. 

People moving to Vienna can also schedule in-person and free appointments to receive advice on anything from setting up a company to paying taxes.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

Portal der Arbeiterkammern

This is the Chamber of Labour website, which is an organisation that represents the interests of 3 million Austrian employees and consumers.

Even if you are not a member, it still has plenty of valuable information on Austria’s working and labour market. The website, however, is only in German.

Der Wirtschaftskammer

Also, a local website, WKO is the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, and even though it is only in German, it holds a lot of information, especially on labour laws in the country.

Furthermore, it is possible to schedule a free appointment with an English-speaking representative to answer questions on employment, self-employment, and more.

READ ALSO: Which are the best companies to work for in Austria?

Public Employment Service Austria (AMS)

This is Austria’s official provider of labour-market related services. The government agency offers placement assistance and vocational counselling.

It is also the point of contact for those looking to register as employees, hire people or seek many of the benefits (including unemployment payments) that they are entitled to. It also has a job-looking platform.

Even though a part of the website is in English, most of the pages are in German only. It is also challenging to find people willing to speak English at the AMS offices.

Bonus website: The Local

Besides our news website, with pieces that will help you learn more about life in Austria and be up to date on the latest and most important information, The Local also has a job search platform where you can look for open positions which require only the English language.

Check out our jobs platform here. 

Do you know any other government or government-linked websites that might be useful for people working in Austria? Let us know: [email protected]

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