Recruiting in Austria is the next step of your Global Expansion into the territory. Austria is a full member of the European Union (EU), which means workers from fellow-EU nations have free movement into the employment market. The same freedom applies to those from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, plus Switzerland. This increases the potential labour pool for companies recruiting from outside Austria. However, the recruitment route is never straightforward. Reels of red tape must be unravelled; then, employers must comply with strictly-applied legislation that sets out their obligations and protects the rights of employees.

Austria boasts well-educated and highly-skilled staff for incoming companies. There is relatively low unemployment post-pandemic, assessed at 8% by the Austrian Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich, AMS), but at close to 12% for expatriate workers. The AMS predicts that steady growth in the Austrian economy will boost employment opportunities in all regions, particularly in the hospitality, human resources, health and social welfare sectors. Companies that can adapt quickly to market and staffing fluctuations will benefit, with the AMS predicting skills shortages in the building sector.

Austria is also a member of EURES, THE EU’s job mobility portal, which lists job vacancies and registered jobseekers throughout the community, with free German language courses. Finding and recruiting the best talent in an overseas territory is always a significant task, mainly if it is thousands of miles away from the home base. This is where Bradford Jacobs’ experience is vital for taking the smartest recruitment route into Austria. Our Professional Employment Organisation (PEO) networks have a global reach. We will have your staff up and running in the shortest time and you can trust us to put your company’s brightest talent in place.

Recruiting in Austria

International companies planning to recruit in Austria have a broader target market than just Austrian citizens. Austria’s full membership of the European Union (EU) means workers from fellow-EU members have free movement into the employment market, along with those from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, plus Switzerland. This plays a significant role in the recruitment process, as employers must comply with a Labour Market Test by proving vacant positions could not have been filled by an Austrian or EU national before being offered to a ‘Third Country National’. It complicates recruiting from major employment markets such as the USA, UK, Australia and Asia.

Recruitment is the first stage in making your company successful and competitive in Austria. But these restrictions complicate moving staff into the country along with obtaining correct immigration and work documentation. Knowing where to locate the finest recruits for your company’s international expansion is vital to avoid these issues.

Once employees are recruited and onboarded, the process continues with meeting these responsibilities:

  • Employers must obtain a contributions account number with the Association of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions (HVB) via ’ELDA’, the electronic data exchange.
  • They must register employees with the HVB to obtain, or verify they possess, their social security number (SV) and designate their category of employment, such as white-collar or manual, for example.
  • They must be registered with the relevant local office of the Tax Authority Austria (TAA).

Employees' Legal Checks in Austria

Under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), information can be collected only for specific and legitimate reasons relevant to the position being applied for. Personal information on social networks can be accessed, but under the GDPR’s Article 9, using data on political views or sexual orientation is not permissible if it has no relevance to the job. Generally, the applicant’s permission is needed for all other checks. Employees’ background checks can include the following:

  • Criminal record checks: they are only allowed if relevant to specific roles, such as security and the financial sector and not allowed to ask about previous convictions already deleted from records.
  • Education and reference checks:  Allowed with the applicant’s permission.
  • Health checks: Permissible if relevant to the position, but employers who base their decision on such information could be liable for discrimination charges.

Required:  Compliance with all immigration procedures.

Basic Facts when Recruiting in Austria

Companies hiring staff in Austria must comply with basic facts on hiring set down by a combination of specific statutes covering different categories of legislation, generally coming under the General Civil Code (ABGB). In some areas, legislation distinguishes between white-collar salaried employees with the White-Collar Employees’ Act (Angestelltengesetz) and blue-collar workers (Arbeiter), who can be regulated by the Trade Ordinance (GewO), for generally unskilled and auxiliary workers. Employers must also be aware of industry-level Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) involving many Austrian workers.

Employers cannot ignore basic employment requirements that apply to their employees, including:

  • Employees must be registered with the Association of Austrian Social Insurance Institutions (HVB).
  • Employers must have their employees’ social insurance number (SV).
  • Under the Labour Contract Law (AVRAG), employment contracts are not legally required, but employees must be given written details, including such as full name and address details of both parties; start date with end date if fixed-term; workplace and job description; salary and payment schedule; working hours, breaks and paid vacations.
  • CBAs are legally binding.
  • Probation periods can be entered into the first month of employment.
  • There is no time limit on fixed-term contracts or the number of contracts before which the employment is deemed open-ended and permanent. Still, there should be justification for renewing a fixed-term contract, or it could become permanent.

Note: Nationals from European Union (EU) countries and those from the European Economic Area (EEA) nations of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, plus Switzerland, have free access to the Austrian employment market and do not require authorization from labour market authorities.

After hiring and onboarding new staff onto the company payroll, employers must ensure they make no mistakes on statutory entitlements for their employees. Mandatory standards include sick leave, working hours, maternity allowances, paid vacations, termination and severance, notice periods and social insurance payments. Contracts or legally-binding CBAs can improve all statutory minimums. Examples include:

  • The Holidays Act (UrlG) allows 30 days’ paid annual leave for those working a typical six-day week, increasing to 36 days after 25 years of service. Those working five days a week receive 25 days’ paid leave.
  • Employees can refuse to work overtime if this exceeds 10 hours per day or 50 hours per week. Employees must receive at least 50% extra on their regular pay under the Working Hours Act (AZG)
  • Maternity leave is 16 weeks, split equally before and after the due date, with 12 weeks post-natal for multiple premature or Caesarean section births. Full-time employees’ benefit is assessed on their three monthly salary payments before the due date and paid at 100% of earnings.


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