Working in Austria For Members

Five things you need to know about the Austrian pension system

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected] • 2 Jan, 2023 Updated Mon 2 Jan 2023 13:54 CEST
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Like many other European countries, Austria has a compulsory pension system. (Photo by Centre for Better Ageing / Pexels)

Navigating the pension system as a foreigner can be tricky, especially if you don't know how long you will stay in Austria. To make the process easier, here's what you need to know.

Austria’s pension system is compulsory

Austria has a compulsory pension system for all employed people, including those that are self-employed. However, to qualify for a state pension, you need to contribute to the Austrian welfare system for 15 years. 

Early retirement is possible, as long as you have contributed for 15 years, but pension payments will be smaller until the age of 65. Alternatively, people can receive a bonus for working longer.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: How does the Austrian pension system work?

The Austrian pension system is basically a pay-as-you-go scheme with 10.25 percent of an employee’s gross salary paid towards pension contributions. Employers then contribute a further 12.55 percent towards an employee’s pension.

For self-employed people in Austria, pension contributions are part of the overall social security payments to the Social Insurance Institute for Self-Employed Persons (SVS).

There are three different types of pension

In Austria there are three pillars to the pension system: state, occupational and private. 

Anyone can claim a state pension in Austria as long as they meet the required age and the number of years of contributions within the country. But the amount a person receives depends on how much has been paid into the individual pension account.

Occupational pensions (second pillar) are not mandatory and involve making additional contributions. They are designed to help people continue with a certain standard of living into retirement.

Private pensions, or the third pillar, were introduced in Austria in 2003 to promote private investments for retirements, as well as the Austrian capital market. This type of pension is typically offered by way of annuity insurance and pension investment funds.

READ MORE: Five reasons to retire in Austria

Pensions from overseas can be transferred to Austria 

For any EU citizens planning to retire in Austria, a state pension from another EU country can be transferred to a bank in Austria. But the amount you receive will depend on the rules in the country that pays the pension.

Austria also has social security agreements with countries outside of the EU, such as the US, Canada, Australia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Israel. But most agreements are linked to employment in Austria.

For people from the UK, there is the option to transfer a pension into a Recognized Overseas Pension Scheme (ROPS), which allows pension funds to be consolidated together into one plan.

However, as with all things related to finance, it’s recommended to seek advice from a financial expert when it comes to moving pension pots overseas.

Austrian pension contributions count in other countries

EU law states that years of pension contributions in Austria also count in another EU country. The same applies to any agreements that Austria might have with non-EU countries.

This means if you live and work in Austria for several years before moving to another EU country, the qualifying years in Austria will be taken into account when claiming a pension in the future.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about retiring in Austria

However, you have to apply to the pension authority where you are living or where you last worked. That country is then responsible for bringing together the claims from all the countries where you have worked.

Despite Brexit, the UK has an agreement in place with Austria so that years of paying into the Austrian pension system still count as qualifying years for the British state pension.

The Austrian state pension age is rising

The pension age in Austria is currently 65 for men and 60 for women, but this will change in the coming years. 

Between 2024 and 2033, the state pension age for women will rise to 65, in line with the age for men.

This also aligns with other European countries like France, Germany and Italy where the state pension age is the same for both men and women. 

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Hayley Maguire 2023/01/02 13:54

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