Living in Austria For Members

Working in Austria: How many holidays can I take?

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
Working in Austria: How many holidays can I take?
Full time employees in Austria enjoy a minimum of 25 days annual leave each year. (Photo by Chavdar Dimitrov / Pexels)

Residents in Austria enjoy generous vacation entitlement. Here’s how many holiday days you can take and the history behind paid annual leave in Austria.


In some English speaking countries, like the US and Canada, the minimum legal requirement for annual leave is just 10 days.

This is in stark contrast to the EU which has a minimum of 20 days holiday for full time employees, with many countries offering more.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: How to maximise your annual leave in Austria in 2023

Fortunately, Austria is one of the European countries that is known for mandating a generous holiday allowance. 

Here’s how many days of holiday you can legally take each year and the story behind Austria’s ample annual leave.


What are the labour laws surrounding annual leave in Austria?

In Austria, full time employees working five days a week are entitled to a minimum of 25 days paid holiday each year. There are then an additional 13 public holidays to enjoy.

Plus, after 25 years with the same employer, holiday entitlement is then increased to six weeks (30 days).

This makes Austria one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to annual leave, and contributes to Austria’s reputation as having a healthy work-life balance.

For example, in neighbouring Germany, the legal minimum paid holiday requirement for full time employees is just 20 days (although many employers offer more). The same applies in Switzerland.

READ MORE: Reader question: What happens in Austria when a holiday falls on a weekend?

What about public holidays?

One quirk of the Austrian system is that public holidays are scheduled according to a specific date, rather than a day of the week (like in the UK). So if a public holiday falls on a weekend then the holiday is forfeited and not rescheduled to another day.

This means, in 2023, most employees will only get 11 days off in addition to their annual paid leave.


However, some savvy planning can help you maximise your holidays. For example, you can take advantage of four possible four-day weekends throughout the year, which only require one day of annual leave each (when a public holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday). 

Plus, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day) in 2023 together give you a four-day weekend as they fall on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

It’s worthwhile thinking about this early in the year, because forward planning is almost a national sport in Austria, so you don’t want colleagues to snag all of the best days off first.

READ ALSO: The best events and festivals in Austria in 2023

How did Austria end up with generous annual leave?

Employees in Austria might enjoy several weeks of paid holiday each year now, but it wasn’t always this way.

The concept of annual leave in Austria dates back to the industrial revolution and the migration of workers to the cities – as is the case in many European countries. 

It all started with the Basic State Law (​​Staatsgrundgesetz) in 1867 which allowed men to form trade unions, Der Standard. This led to the introduction of the Clerk’s Law (Handlungsgehilfengesetz) in 1910 and the start of ten days paid annual leave for white-collar workers.


Then, after the fall of the monarchy (1918), the Worker’s Holiday Act (Arbeiterurlaubsgesetztes) was passed in 1919, which resulted in the eight hour work day and two weeks paid vacation for full time employees.

But the rise of Austrofascism in the 1930’s put an end to progress in labour laws with a ban on unions and the abolition of the eight hour work day and paid holidays. 

After World War II came to an end, the Worker’s Holiday Law was quickly reinstated in Austria. Paid annual leave was then increased to 15 days in 1964 before being extended to 20 days in 1970.

In 1986, the law was changed to mandate 25 days paid holiday for full time employees in Austria – the amount that is still in place today.


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