Working in Austria and your entitlement to cash benefits

Last update: 12th Apr 2023
Published: 26th Jan 2023

What benefits are you entitled to while working in Austria and what conditions do you have to meet to get them?

Sick leave and sickness benefits (Krankengeld)

In connection with work in Austria, an employee is first entitled to wages during sick leave and then to sickness benefits.

First of all, it is important to inform the employer immediately of the sick leave, e.g. by telephone or e-mail. A sickness certificate from a doctor should only be given to the employer if the employer requests it. In some cases, employers do not require a doctor's certificate as they can check the sickness absence of employees in the online system of the Austrian health insurance company.

By agreement with the employer, the employee does not have to visit a doctor to obtain a sickness certificate, as this is not required for payment of wages, but only for payment of sickness benefit.

The employer is obliged to pay the employee 100 % of his wages and 50 % thereafter when he becomes unfit for work. The duration of payment of full and half pay depends on the duration of the employment relationship, as follows:

Duration of employmentDuration of payment of 100 % of salaryDuration of payment of 50 % of salary
1 year6 weeks4 weeks
2 to 15 years8 weeks4 weeks
16 to 25 years10 weeks4 weeks
26 years and more12 weeks4 weeks

The employee is not entitled to sickness benefit during the period of payment of 100 % of the salary. This entitlement only arises when the employee is paid 50% of his/her wages. In this case, or when 50% of the salary is paid, the employee is entitled to 50% of the sickness benefit. If the employee's entitlement falls below 50 % of the salary, he is entitled to the full amount of sickness benefit.

Sickness benefits are generally provided for 26 weeks. This period may be extended to 56 weeks if the employee has been insured for 6 months in the 12 months preceding the incapacity for work. Amount of sickness benefit:

  • 50% of the assessment base or of the gross salary: if the incapacity for work lasts 42 days or less,
  • 60 % of the assessment base or of the gross wage: if the incapacity for work lasts 43 days or more.

Unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosenunterstützung)

If you lose your job in Austria, you will be entitled to unemployment benefit if:

  • You are claiming unemployment benefit for the first time: you have been insured for unemployment for at least 52 weeks in the last 24 months.
  • You have received unemployment benefit in the past: you have been insured for unemployment for at least 28 weeks in the last 12 months.
  • You register with the relevant employment office in Austria, or the AMS (Arbeitsmarktservice).

Registration with the AMS is possible:

  • electronically - via an e-AMS account using an online form,
  • by post - by sending the Arbeitslosmeldung form to the local employment office,
  • in person - at the local employment office.

Unemployment benefit is paid for 20 weeks at the rate of 55 % of the net wage based on the monthly assessment base.

You can use a calculator to work out the exact amount of unemployment benefit.

If you worked in Austria, you can apply for Austrian tax refund.

Tip: It is possible to earn additional income while receiving Austrian unemployment benefit, the earnings must not exceed €500.91. This amount is valid for the year 2023 (in 2022, an earnings amount of €485.85 was allowed).

If you plan to return from Austria to your home country, you can apply for a transfer of the benefit to your home country after 4 weeks from the date of registration. The transfer of the benefit can be made using the PD U2 form, which will be issued to you upon request by the relevant employment office in Austria.

Read also:

Form PD U2 (E 303) - Confirmation of continued entitlement to unemployment benefits

The portable PD U2 form is the entitlement to continue receiving unemployment benefit while looking for work in another EU country

Child allowances (Familienbeihilfe)

Child benefit is one of the basic benefits to which parents working in Austria are entitled. You meet the eligibility condition by automatically being socially insured as a working person.

You can apply for child benefit either on paper (to the local tax office) or electronically via FinanzOnline and the following forms are required:

I want to apply for Austrian child benefit

Parental allowance (Kinderbetreuungsgeld, or KBG)

Conditions for entitlement to parental allowance:

  • Shared and long-term household with the child,
  • centre of life interests in Austria,
  • legal residence in Austria,
  • receipt of Austrian child benefits,
  • proof of pregnancy check-ups for mother and child,
  • compliance with the income threshold,
  • a decision to entrust the child to one of the parents (in the case of separated parents).

The application for parental allowance can be submitted either electronically via FinanzOnline or in person at the local health insurance office.

You will need the following documents to apply for parental allowance:

  • Application or Antrag Kinderbetreuungsgeld,
  • a copy of the child's birth certificate in German,
  • a copy of the identity card,
  • the 'Meldezettel' residence registration certificate,
  • proof of child benefit.

If the applicant is not entitled to Austrian child benefit, he/she is not entitled to parental allowance either.

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