This chapter provides information on the benefits you can receive in Austria in case of unemployment.
- Unemployment benefit
- Unemployment assistance
In what situation can I claim?
You may be entitled to unemployment benefit (Arbeitslosengeld) if you lose your job or become unemployed.
You may claim unemployment assistance (Notstandshilfe) if you have exhausted your entitlement to unemployment benefit and you remain in a situation of need.
What is covered?
The aim of unemployment benefit is to secure your livelihood while you are looking for work. To be entitled to an unemployment benefit, you must be unemployed, able and willing to work (to accept suitable employment), be at the disposal of the job office and may not have exhausted your entitlement.
Moreover, you must have completed a minimum period of insurance. This applies in case you have been covered by unemployment insurance for at least 52 weeks during the last 24 months, or 26 weeks within the last 12 months if you are below the age of 25 years.
Persons with earnings above the marginal earnings threshold (Geringfügigkeitsgrenze) of EUR 475.86 per month (in 2021) are covered by unemployment insurance.
There is no possibility of voluntary insurance for employees. However, since 1 January 2009, self-employed persons may join the unemployment insurance system on a voluntary basis.
You may be entitled to unemployment assistance after you exhaust your entitlement to unemployment benefit if your disposable income is not sufficient to provide for your essential needs.
What am I entitled to and how can I claim?
As of 1 July 2020, the remuneration of the last twelve final monthly contribution bases stored with the umbrella organisation of social insurance institutions will be used as a rule to calculate the basic amount of unemployment benefit.
The contribution bases of the last twelve months before the application are not used because they are still within the correction period. Certain other periods (such as during illness or unemployment) are also generally not taken into account. However, they are taken into account if there are no other monthly contribution bases before the correction period.
Special payments are taken into account on a flat rate basis by adding one sixth to the current contribution bases.
The basic amount of the unemployment benefits is 55% of daily net income and can be increased depending on the amount of the reference income by the supplement and up to 80% in case of entitlement to family supplements. Minimum and maximum values of the daily rates result de facto from the marginal earnings threshold and the maximum assessment base.
The duration of unemployment benefit depends on the period of insurance and your age. It is paid for at least 20 weeks.
If you are of a certain minimum age and have completed a certain minimum period of insurance, the entitlement period increases to:
This duration can be extended by the period during which you participate in a follow-up training or retraining measure or in a reintegration measure commissioned by the Labour Market Service or by up to four years if you participate in a work foundation (Arbeitsstiftung) (please see "Jargon busters").
If you refuse or obstruct an offer of work or a chance to acquire a vocational training qualification, sanctions will be imposed in the form of your entitlement to unemployment benefit being suspended for at least six weeks. This means that your period of entitlement to unemployment benefit will be reduced.
When you become unemployed, you have to register with the Labour Market Service and claim unemployment benefit. While you are receiving the benefit, you are required to report to the Labour Market Service at the agreed times to discuss your search for employment with your case officer.
You must also immediately inform the Labour Market Service, without being asked, of any changes in your personal circumstances or those of your family members which may affect your entitlement to a benefit. These include taking up employment or other changes in your income situation.
Unemployment benefit is paid from the date of application. However, if you have resigned from your job without good reason, benefit is suspended for four weeks.
While you are unemployed, the Labour Market Service pays sickness and pension insurance contributions on your behalf. In addition, you are insured against certain accidents.
Unemployment assistance amounts to 92% of your most recent unemployment benefit payment. If the unemployment benefit (without family supplements) is below the compensatory supplement reference level for single persons, unemployment allowance amounts to 95% of unemployment benefit.
In case of short-term entitlement to unemployment benefit, there might be a certain reduction after six months. Unemployment assistance is granted for an unlimited period of time, but only for one year at a time.
You must claim unemployment assistance in person from the competent Labour Market Service (AMS). It is recommended that you apply before your entitlement to unemployment benefit expires. If you have an eAMS account, you can also submit your application online.
Whenever you have to fulfil certain conditions before being able to claim an Austrian social security benefit, the authorities will also take into account any insurance periods you have completed in other countries. This applies to EU Member States and to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. No insurance period you have completed in Austria will be affected if you work or are insured in one of these countries.
- You are willing to work if you are prepared to take up suitable employment.
- Work foundation is a special employment training scheme, organised together with one or more companies concerned, which provides skills training at an early stage of unemployment or in situations where a large group of people are likely to become unemployed because of staff reductions.
- Your eAMS account is your personal access point to the Austrian Labour Market Service (AMS). An eAMS account allows you to access your personal AMS data and to use AMS’s online services.
- Maximum assessment base is a calculated maximum value which can be used as the basis for calculation of unemployment benefit.
- Habitual residence - The term ‘habitual residence’ is defined under EU law (please see the EU Regulation on the coordination of social security systems). In practice, it means the place where you have your centre of interests.
Forms you may need to fill in
You can register as unemployed online with the Austrian Labour Market Service (AMS).
- Further downloads for jobseekers
- A list of harmonised EU forms for the transfer of social security entitlements between the Member States. The form for Austria is available from AMS.
Know your rights
The links below set out your rights in law. However, they are not official European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:
- The things you must do when you find out you will become unemployed
- Information on unemployment benefit
- Information on unemployment assistance
- FAQ on unemployment assistance
- Unemployment assistance explained
Whom do you need to contact?
Federal Ministry of Labour
Section III (Employment Market)