Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Austria - Retraining allowance

In what situation can I claim?

If you lose your job or become unemployed, you may be entitled to other benefits in addition to unemployment benefit and unemployment allowance.

You may receive retraining allowance (Umschulungsgeld) if you have a temporary invalidity for at least six months, if your vocational rehabilitation measures are appropriate and reasonable or if you are expected to become invalid, and if you are willing to actively participate in vocational rehabilitation measures considered appropriate for you.

You may receive short-time working support (Kurzarbeitsunterstützung) from your employer as a compensation, i.e. partial cover, for any lost earnings you incur in the event of your normal working hours being reduced because of economic difficulties. Your employer will receive a partial refund from the Labour Market Service for the costs of short-time working support.

You may receive bad weather compensation (Schlechtwetter-Entschädigung) from your employer if you work in the building sector and no work is possible at your building site because of unfavourable weather. This benefit provide partial cover for your loss of earnings.

Allowance for elderly workers (Altersteilzeitgeld) is a refund for any additional costs the employer incurs through wage compensation and payment of social security contributions when an elderly employee reduces their normal working hours.

Compensation in the event of the employer’s insolvency is granted if your employer goes into administration and can therefore no longer pay your wages. The Insolvenz-Entgelt-Fonds-Service (IEF Service), a bankruptcy contingency fund, is responsible for paying insolvency benefit (Insolvenzgeld or Insolvenz-Entgelt) in order to protect employees from loss of earnings and delays in the payment of any remuneration to which they are entitled.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Retraining allowance

You may be entitled to retraining allowance if you are invalid for at least six months or if you are expected to become invalid. You must also actively be participating in vocational rehabilitation measures considered appropriate and reasonable for you.

Retraining allowance and rehabilitation allowance have been provided instead of temporary invalidity pensions since the beginning of 2014. They are intended to facilitate the return of persons temporarily incapacitated for work to the labour market.

Short-time working support

Short-time work means a temporary reduction in normal working hours because of economic difficulties. In order to compensate you for loss of pay resulting from such situations, your employer may claim short-time working support on your behalf.

Bad weather compensation

If you work in construction and are not able to work because of bad weather, you may receive bad weather compensation from your employer as a compensation for loss of pay resulting from such situations.

Allowance for elderly workers

Men can reduce their working hours from the age of 58 and women from an age of 54 years by 40% - 60%, before they go into retirement. Two options are available: you can reduce your weekly working hours by a certain percentage and receive correspondingly lower wages, or you can choose what is called the "block work option". In the latter case, you continue to work full-time for a while and are subsequently fully exempted from the requirement to work for an equivalent period. You will receive reduced wages in either case.

If your employer pays your wages during this period, they are entitled to the allowance for elderly workers from your unemployment insurance in order to partially cover the expenses incurred. One of the requirements, however, is that the employer pays the social security contributions according to the contributions base before the reduction in your normal working hours.

Part pension allowance for elderly workers:

Persons who meet the requirements for a corridor pension (not possible before the age of 62 years) can reduce their working hours to 40% - 60%.

Compensation in the event of the employer’s insolvency

Your employer must have filed for bankruptcy and you must be legitimately entitled to payment of your wages.

All these benefits may be claimed if the employee, the apprentice or the homeworker is covered by unemployment insurance. Cover from unemployment insurance is provided if the earnings are above the EUR 438.05 marginal employment threshold per month (in 2018).

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Retraining allowance

A retraining allowance equal to the rate of unemployment benefit is paid for vocational rehabilitation measures during the selection and planning stage. During implementation it is paid at a rate of the unemployment benefit base amount increased by 22% in addition to family supplements. However, the minimum amount paid is at a rate equal to the subsistence minimum.

Short-time working support

The employee receives short-time working support from their employer, who in turn receives a compensatory short-time working subsidy from the Labour Market Service. Employees, therefore, cannot claim this support from the Labour Market Service, but they can make their employers aware of the entitlement so that employers can claim a short-time working subsidy.

Bad weather compensation in the building sector

If you are unable to work at your building site because of bad weather, the bad weather compensation provides partial compensation for the loss of earnings. For building sites in Austria and abroad, you will receive 60% of the wages you would have earned if you had worked full time.

Allowance for elderly workers

Allowance for elderly workers may be paid from a certain age to employees working reduced hours. The payment level depends on the reduction in working hours.

Transitional benefit (Übergangsgeld) and transitional benefit for elderly part-time workers (Übergangsgeld nach Altersteilzeit) are intended as a bridging measure until  old-age pension can be claimed. Within unemployment insurance, special support (Sonderunterstützung) for unemployed persons above the age of 52 working in the mining sector can be provided.

Part pension  allowance for elderly workers

The employer granting a compensation of 50% of the lost wages and continuing to pay 100% of the social security contributions is refunded 100% of the additional expenses in case of continuous reduction of working hours.

Compensation in the event of the employer’s insolvency

Insolvency benefit is paid in respect of

  • claims for regular remuneration (wages, salaries, special payments)
  • claims arising from termination of employment (severance pay, compensation for termination and compensation for unused holidays)
  • claims for damages
  • other claims arising from the employment contract (e.g. expenses, allowances, bonuses, mileage allowance, company pensions, survivors’ pensions)
  • the necessary costs incurred through pursuit of such claims against the employer (e.g. litigation costs).

In principle, insolvency benefit is paid for net claims only. This means that a gross claim is reduced by both statutory social security contributions and payroll taxes.

Insolvency benefit can be applied for at the IEF-Service-GmbH.

While you are employed, the unemployment insurance fund is responsible for paying sickness and pension insurance contributions. You are also partially insured against accidents.

Family supplements (Familienzuschläge) may be provided for spouses (cohabiting partners), children and grand-children.

You must apply for these benefits in order to assert your claim. You can apply at your regional Labour Market Service (AMS) office. Keep the submission deadlines in mind and submit the required documents in time. An AMS adviser will inform you what deadlines apply to you and what document you have to submit. Be sure to notify your regional office promptly if you are unable to submit your application on time.

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 Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. No insurance period you have completed in Austria will be affected if you work or are insured in one of these countries.

Jargon busters

Forms you may need to fill in

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:

EU information:

Commission publications:

Whom do you need to contact?

Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection

Stubenring 1

1010 Vienna


T: +43 171100 0

E: post@sozialministerium.at


Austrian Labour Market Service

Treustraße 35-43

1200 Vienna


T: +43 133178

E: ams.oesterreich@ams.at


Pension Insurance Institution, Main Office

Friedrich-Hillegeist-Straße 1

1021 Vienna


T: +43 50303

E: pva@pva.sozvers.at


Offices - Services for jobseekers

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