Unemployment benefits in Austria

If it happens to you to lose your job and you can’t find the new one the Austrian state and its system based on solidarity will help you to overcome this difficult period. The help means that you will be receiving an unemployment benefit and they will finance your training and assist you with your job search. Unemployment benefits are managed by the public employment service (AMS), which is also responsible for measures of active labor market policy. In this article, you will learn when you have a right to receive unemployment benefits, how much you are receiving and how long as well as some other details about unemployment benefits in Austria.

When I can get unemployment benefits in Austria and what are the requirements?

If you lose your job you may be eligible for unemployment benefits in Austria (Arbeitslosengeld). The main requirement to receive unemployment benefit is that you have worked in Austria for a minimum of 52 weeks over the last 24 months, or 26 weeks if you are under the age of 25.

In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must be unemployed, physically and mentally capable, willing to accept suitable employment and available to the public employment service in Austria, which is called AMS.

While you are seeking employment, unemployment benefit is meant to secure your livelihood. If your disposable family income is insufficient to meet your essential needs after exhausting your entitlement to unemployment benefits, you may qualify for unemployment assistance.

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How much is the unemployment benefit in Austria, how can I get it and what is the duration?

The monthly unemployment benefit in Austria represents around 55% of your net monthly salary (usually your average salary from the past 2 years).

For example, if your average salary monthly salary within last 24 months was 3.000 EUR you will receive around 1.650 EUR as an unemployment benefit per month.

It is theoretically possible to receive as much as 80% of your net earnings as unemployment benefit in Austria (in case you qualify for family allowances).

In Austria, unemployment benefits last for at least 20 weeks. Depending on your age, your previous employment and paid unemployment insurance, the exact duration will vary. Following are the rules for extending unemployment benefits beyond 20 weeks:

Unemployment benefit durationThe period of being previously insured (employed) and person’s age
30 weeks3 years within the last 5 years
39 weeks6 years within the last 10 years and has reached the age of 40
52 weeks9 years within the last 15 years and had reached the age of 50

Unemployment benefits must be claimed through the Labor Market Service (AMS) once you become unemployed. The unemployment benefits recipient must report his or her status to the Labour Market Service (AMS) to discuss search for employment with a personal officer at the agreed-upon times.

If your employment status or income (including income from renting real estate and similar regular sources of income) circumstances change, you must notify the Labour Market Service (AMS), without delay, because these changes may affect your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

When you apply for unemployment compensation, you begin receiving unemployment benefits. Nevertheless, if you resign from your job without good reason, unemployment benefits are suspended for four weeks but afterward, you are receiving unemployment compensation.

In the course of your unemployment, the Labour Market Service (AMS) will pay your health and pension insurance contributions. Additionally, you are covered for certain accidents.

In order to determine the amount of unemployment compensation, factors such as a person’s age, family situation, and financial circumstances (in particular, their own income as well as the income of their spouse, cohabitant, or registered partner) are considered. Under certain conditions, other expenses (such as medical expenses and property purchases) may also be eligible.

If you wish to remain eligible for unemployment benefits, you should apply as soon as possible. Online applications can also be submitted if you have an eAMS account.

The Austrian authorities will also take into account any insurance periods you’ve completed abroad when determining whether you can claim an Austrian social security benefit. The rule applies to all EU member states as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland. Working in one of these countries will not affect the insurance period you have completed in Austria.

If you are no anymore eligible for unemployment benefits but you are still unemployed you may continue receiving unemployment assistance.

92 percent of your recent unemployment benefit is available to you as unemployment assistance.

Short-term unemployment benefits may be reduced after six months. Unemployment assistance can last for an unlimited amount of time.

To obtain unemployment assistance, you must contact the Labour Market Service (AMS) in person.

Can I earn something in addition to the unemployment benefit?

If you are receiving an unemployment benefit your additional earning limit is 405.98 euros per month (as of 2015).

You have to notify AMS if you find any kind of additional employment.

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Unemployment benefit for third-country nationals in Austria

As a third-country citizen, you have a right to receive an unemployment benefit if you were previously employed in Austria, meaning you are fulfilling the same requirements as Austrian and EU citizens regarding your previous employment. This requirement is that you worked in Austria for a minimum of 52 weeks over the last 24 months, or 26 weeks if you are under the age of 25.

Bosnia & Herzegovina, Israel, Republic of Macedonia, North Montenegro, Serbia and Republic of Macedonia are the only five countries with bilateral social security agreements covering unemployment benefits.

Generally, the agreement settles only the addition of insurance periods when determining the qualification period. For more information, please visit the website of the Austrian Association of Social Security Institutions (Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger): www.hauptverband.at (in German).

Guaranteed Minimum Allowance (Mindestsicherung) in Austria

Individuals with no reasonable means of paying their own or their family’s living expenses are eligible for a guaranteed minimum allowance (Mindestsicherung). 

Individuals who can no longer cover their living expenses on their own should be entitled to a guaranteed minimum allowance. This allowance is meant to cover basic needs such as food, clothing, body care, heating and electricity, furniture, and other personal needs such as participating in cultural activities and housing.

The guaranteed minimum allowance is only available when other financial means (such as income, social security benefits, etc.) or assets are not available.

Citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) are only entitled to a guaranteed minimum allowance if they are employed in Austria or have lived here for more than five years.

The Austrian government only guarantees minimum allowance to nationals of third countries after they have been legally residing in Austria for at least five years. Individual federal Austrian states will determine the amount of guaranteed minimum allowance.

Important terms and explanations:

If you are willing to take up any employment offered by AMS, this means you are willing to work.

The Austrian Labour Market Service (AMS) is accessible to you through your eAMS account. By signing up for an eAMS account, you can access your personal AMS data and use AMS’s online services.

The term ‘habitual residence’ is defined under EU law and it refers to your central point of interest.


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