General information

An employee for the purposes of employment contract law is any individual who is obliged to perform work for an employer based on an employment contract. The employment relationship is a continuing obligation. The purpose of this relationship is to perform work and it is established by way of an employment contract concluded in writing, orally or implicitly.


These rules also apply to all citizens and entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.

The essential features of an employment relationship are:

  • Personal dependence (classification in the operating organisation, obligation to follow instructions, control, disciplinary responsibility, personal service obligation)
  • Economic dependence of the employee
  • Entitlement to remuneration (not a mandatory feature)
  • Employees enjoy the full protection of labour law.

Employees are divided into the following groups with different rules and regulations:

Please note

Board members of public liability companies are effectively not considered employees for the purposes of employment contract law. Managing partners of a private limited company do not qualify as employees for the purposes of employment contract law, if their participating interest and the resulting rights allow them to exercise significant influence over the company.

The termination of the employment relationship as a continuing obligation requires a separate terminating action:

fixed-term employment relationship is an exception. This ends at the end of the term.

National insurance

In accordance with the Allgemeinen Sozialversicherungsgesetz (Federal Act on General Social Insurance - ASVG)German text, employees are fully insured under healthGerman textpensionGerman text and accident insuranceGerman text, provided that the remuneration exceeds the de minimis threshold. Employees are entitled to sickness benefits and a maternity allowanceGerman text, and receive unemployment insurance. In any case, any individual liable to income tax for the purposes of the Einkommensteuergesetz (Federal Income Tax Act - EStG) is considered an employee under the ASVG.

Employees must be registered with the Austrian Health Insurance (Österreichischen Gesundheitskasse - ÖGK) before starting work. (Employee registration).

Compulsory insurance ends with the end of the employment relationship (or entitlement to remuneration).

Tax liability

Employees in Austria are not required to pay income tax to the tax office themselves. Income tax is deducted from the employee's gross pay in the form of salaries tax and paid to the tax office by the employer.

Employees may assert their claim to overpaid salaries tax by submitting the employee assessmentGerman text (formerly: employee tax return) to their local tax office.

But, in certain cases, employees also have to submit an assessment. If a compulsory assessment is required, please read the chapter entitled "General information on the employee assessment"German text.

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 30 November 2020
Responsible for the content:
  • Federal Ministry of Finance
  • Federal Ministry of Labour

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