While there is no official minimum wage in Austria, this guide explains what to expect with salaries and remuneration laws in the country.
While there is no official minimum wage in Austria, this doesn’t mean that workers are not protected. On the contrary, over the last few years, a series of collective bargaining agreements have essentially enforced a base rate for salaries. As such, this functions as a minimum wage in Austria.
If you are looking to live and work in Austria, this handy guide explains what you need to know about labor laws, average salaries in Austria, and what to do if you face low payments or wage discrimination. It includes the following information:
- The minimum wage in Austria
- The minimum wage in Austria: exclusions and variations
- What to do if you’re not being paid the minimum wage in Austria
- The average salary in Austria
- The gender pay gap in Austria
- Salaries and wages for expats in Austria
- What to do if your salary is too low in Austria
- Useful resources
The minimum wage in Austria
Technically, there is no federal minimum wage in Austria. However, in January 2017, the Austrian government asked the social partners to negotiate a minimum wage that would apply to all industries in the country. Because of this, there is now an effective minimum wage in Austria of €1,500 a month.
This was the result of sectoral collective agreements that were created by the following four main social partner organizations:
- Austrian Trade Union Federation
- Chamber of Labor
- Federal Economic Chamber
- Austrian Chamber of Agriculture
The partners presented this minimum wage at a press conference on 30 June 2017. They also announced that the minimum wage was to be implemented by sectoral collective agreements by 2020. Although the timelines for each industry differed, all had gradually implemented it by 2020.
Because the minimum wage in Austria is now set at €1,500 a month, it is now on par with developed European countries such as France and Germany. That said, it is far higher than the minimum wage in most parts of Europe. The minimum wage in Austria covers basic salary, overtime payments, bonuses, and idle-time compensation. For most white-collar workers, it is due on the last day of each month. However, for blue-collar workers, salaries are paid according to the applicable collective agreement.
The minimum wage in Austria: exclusions and variations
Of course, there are some exclusions to the minimum wage in Austria. For example, tax-free per-diems, housing, transportation, and meal costs don’t count towards the minimum wage.
In addition, there are certain work functions that count towards minimum wage payments. As such, an employee attending business meetings, seminars, trade fairs, and conferences cannot claim extra benefits over minimum wage. Similarly, the minimum wage doesn’t apply to foreign employees who are temporarily hired-out to Austria for up to two months.
What to do if you’re not being paid the minimum wage in Austria
Austria has very strict labor laws and a rigid and formal business culture. As such, if your salary doesn’t meet the appropriate minimum wage in Austria, you might have legal recourse which you can take up with the courts. However, employers that don’t comply with the minimum wage in Austria face severe fines.
A company of more than three employees, for example, could be fined anything from €2,000 to €20,000 for a first offense, or up to €50,000 for a repeat offense. Similarly, there are penalties for not keeping appropriate payment records, and for discrimination based on age, race, and gender.
In case of a pay dispute, informal alternative dispute resolutions are common in Austria. As such, there will be certain social partners that might be able to intervene on your behalf to settle a conflict out of court. There are different forms of this, including conciliation, mediation, and arbitration. In general, it is preferable to deal with complaints before going to a labor court or tribunal.
If you do go to court, however, the competent court will usually be the Land Courts (Landesgerichte) in each province. If the conflict escalates, however, you might end up at the Higher Land Courts (Oberlandesgrichte) or even the Supreme Court of Justice (Oberster Gerichtshof).
The average salary in Austria
The average salary in Austria is around €3,790 a month. Normally, this includes the basic salary, bonuses, annual leave payments, and sick pay. Because of this, salaries are generally above the minimum wage in Austria. Again, this average monthly salary is on par with most of Western Europe and Scandinavia, and far above those in Eastern Europe.
Average salary in Austria by sector
Of course, salaries can vary greatly depending on what sector you work in. However, to give you an idea of average salaries in Austria, here are a few examples by sector:
- Agriculture – €2,646
- Arts and culture – €2,945
- Banking – €4,227
- Cars – €3,405
- Commerce – €3,420
- Construction – €3,736
- Education – €3,110
- Electrical engineering – €3,580
- IT – €4,677
- Journalism – €3,101
- Law – €4,354
- Management – €5,313
- Marketing, advertising, and PR – €3,779
- Technology development – €4,807
- Textiles – €2,183
- Transport – €2,937
Average salary in Austria by experience
Similar to all other countries, salaries in Austria increase alongside your experience. To give you an idea of how this works, below are the average gross annual salaries by years of experience:
- 0-2 years – €40,067/year
- 2-4 years – €44,538/year
- 4-8 years – €54,009/year
- 8-12 years – €64,480/year
- 12-16 years – €70,906/year
- 16-20 years – €83,007/year
- 20+ years – €91,288/year
Average salary in Austria by region
Salaries in Austria can also differ greatly depending on where you live. For example, salaries in bigger cities like Vienna tend to be higher than in small cities or more rural areas. Here are a few gross yearly salaries by region in Austria:
- Vienna – €62,616/year
- Innsbruck – €61,800/year
- Bregenz – €59,364/year
- Klagenfurt – €57,606/year
- Graz – €51,525/year
- Linz – €50,996/year
- Salzburg – €48,241/year
- Eisenstadt – €44,818/year
- St. Pölten – €63,518/year
The gender pay gap in Austria
Although Austria is working hard to implement full equality throughout the country, there is still a gender pay gap across all industries. The 2018 General Income Report found that Austria’s mean gross annual income in 2017 was €41,510. However, the mean gross annual income for women was just €36,985 while for men, it was €43,838. Essentially, this means that women only earn 63% of what men did.
However, there is a caveat here as the mean gross annual income doesn’t take into account the fact that there are more part-time female employees than male ones. Nor does it account for the fact that the gender pay gap is less obvious in the public sector than in the private sector. So, taking only full-time employment into account, women’s mean gross annual income was 84% of their male counterparts’.
Salaries and wages for expats in Austria
If you are moving to Austria for work, it is very likely that you will end up in the capital, Vienna. The city is home to plenty of industries, including research, IT, tourism, and service and because of this, it is attractive to expats. However, other parts of Austria might be good for work, too. For example, Innsbruck might be good for tourism, while Salzburg is home to numerous industries and big international companies like Red Bull.
Many EU citizens move to Austria because the quality of life is better than in their home country and jobs are more readily available. However, the most important factor is that they also don’t need to get a work permit or visa. However, if you are a foreign national from outside the EU, you will need to get a resident permit or Red-White-Red Card. Although you need to have a company sponsor you for this card, you must also meet minimum monthly salary thresholds to get one. For example, a single expat must have a salary of at least €933 to get the card, while married couples must earn at least €1,399.
While salaries in Austria generally don’t tend to be much higher for expats than for locals, expats do tend to earn more just because they tend to work in higher-paying jobs. For example, an expat working in financial services might earn €84,333 a year, while a consultant or accountant could earn €69,000. But, an expat working in Austria as a nurse or teacher, for example, might earn €33,000 a year. Therefore, the minimum wage in Austria probably won’t apply to you. Additionally, while unemployment in Austria is reasonably low, very few expats in the country are unemployed.
What to do if your salary is too low in Austria
Not receiving the minimum wage in Austria may make it difficult to afford the general cost of living in the country. With this in mind, you might want to start looking for a new job or talk to your company’s human resources department.
If you find that you need to escalate the situation, you could enlist social partners to assist with alternative dispute resolution scenarios. Of course, if the situation is dire, you could also go to court.
- Minimum wages, Austria Statistics – a government statistics bureau page about minimum wages
- Average Salary Survey Austria – information about average salaries in Austria
- Disputes, Eurofound – a page about workplace dispute resolution in Austria
- Personal income, Austria Statistics – a government statistics bureau page about personal income