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Can I go on holiday while receiving unemployment benefits in Austria?

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
Can I go on holiday while receiving unemployment benefits in Austria?
A man waits at a boarding gate. Photo: JESHOOTS.com/Unsplash

Everybody needs a holiday, but if you're receiving unemployment benefits in Austria, there are certain rules you need to follow to avoid being fined or having your benefits stopped.

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What is unemployment benefit in Austria?

In Austria, unemployment benefit - or Arbeitslosengeld (literally 'unemployment money') - is available for people who lose their job and who are willing to take up work for at least 20 hours per week. In order to claim unemployment benefits, you have to register with the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS).

A secondary form of unemployment benefit - called Notstandshilfe (emergency help) - is also available once the claim for Arbeitslosengeld has expired. It can be drawn for an unlimited period of time but is granted for a maximum of 52 weeks at a time, after which recipients have to submit a new application.

READ ALSO: Unemployment benefits in Austria: Who is eligible and how much can you get?

In principle, the basic amount of emergency unemployment assistance is 92 per cent of the previously received unemployment benefit.

Can I go on holiday while receiving unemployment benefits?

If you are receiving either type of unemployment benefit, there are strict rules that apply to taking holidays.

If you decide to take a trip within Austria, you will continue to receive unemployment benefits, but you still have to attend any scheduled appointments with the AMS.

If you want to take a trip outside of Austria, however, you have to inform the AMS about the time period you will be away and your benefit payments will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the vacation, as the Unemployment Insurance Act states that you must be within the country to receive benefits.

READ ALSO: Five lesser-known tourist spots in Austria that you should visit

You can inform the AMS by telephone, email, letter or also through your online eAMS account. 

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In an interview with 'Heute' AMS CEO Johannes Kopf confirmed the rules around holidaying while receiving unemployment benefits in Austria.

When asked if AMS customers can go to the seaside in the summer, the labour market expert said: "Yes, they can. However, they must inform AMS and unregister during the vacation period."

"Since we don't have a sea, they are allowed to go to Lake Neusiedl, for example, but not to the sea. They can, of course, inform about their vacation, but they won't receive unemployment benefits during that time."

After returning from an overseas vacation, it is crucial to personally inform the AMS that you are back in the country, otherwise, they cannot resume the benefit payments. 

How long can you be away from home?

If your trip abroad lasts more than 62 days, simply reporting back to the AMS is not enough to restart benefits payments. In that case, you will need to submit a new application.

If you are going to be away from home, but still in Austria for a longer period of time, you should also inform the AMS.  The employment agency can agree to a period of absence for up to 6 weeks at a time, but you will only receive unemployment benefits until the end of the 3rd week.

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If you are away from home for longer than 6 weeks, you will not receive unemployment benefits from the first day of the trip.

What happens if I go on holiday abroad and don't register?

It's definitely not advisable as, if you're caught, you can be made to pay back your benefits and hit with a hefty fine.

In 2021, Austrian media reported on a case of numerous unemployment benefits recipients being stopped by police at the Austrian border, who were then made to repay some of the benefits they had received.

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