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Am I entitled to any severance pay from my job in Austria?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Am I entitled to any severance pay from my job in Austria?
Photo: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels

If your job in Austria comes to an end you are likely to be entitled to a severance payment - even, in some cases if you retire. Here's how it works.

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Austria has a robust social system, and workers are entitled to certain rights even if they have not been continuously employed by an employer for long or, in some cases, if they decide to quit their jobs. One of the rights they are entitled to is severance pay.

This is because companies regularly pay into a company pension fund, thus saving up the severance contributions for their employees. Currently, employers have to pay 1.53 percent of workers' gross monthly salary (including special payments) to the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK), which then forwards the amount to a selected company pension fund (BVK).

These severance contributions must also be paid in case of military or civilian service, maternity or sick leave and if you are on part-time working schemes such as partial retirement or part-time care and education, for example. 

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How do I know how much I am entitled to?

Your severance pay is calculated as total contributions plus interest minus administrative costs. The monthly contributions must be clearly stated in your payslip and, once a year, you are entitled to an account statement from the pension fund (BVK). 

The statement must contain, among other things, the amount of severance paid at the last balance sheet date, the contributions paid by your employment, and the total severance payment amount. 

If you are not employed and no contributions are paid into your account, you are entitled to receive this account statement every three years.

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When can I request payment?

After at least three years of contribution (but not necessarily by the same company), you can request payment in these cases:

  • The employer terminates the employment relationship
  • Your employment relationship ends when the deadline expires
  • You and your employer terminate the employment relationship by mutual agreement
  • You are dismissed through no fault of your own
  • You are entitled to resign
  • You resign during part-time parental leave, i.e. during your part-time employment under the Maternity Protection or Paternity Leave Act

You are entitled to a payout under certain conditions if you don't have a new job. For example, when you start receiving a pension from the statutory pension insurance or once you reach early retirement pension age. You can also request a payout if you have not paid any contributions to a BVK for at least five years - for example, because you live abroad.

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

BVK must pay your severance pay to you within five bank working days of the end of the 2nd month after the claim is made. The 2-month period begins at the earliest at the end of your employment relationship.

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When are you not entitled to it?

You don't have the right to request the payment if you haven't paid into the system over three years or if you terminate your employment yourself, for example.

In these cases, your severance payments remain in the account until you meet the criteria for a payout at a later date. At that point, you can then claim all severance payments, including from previous employment.

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

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What happens to your severance pay after your death?

In that case, your spouse or registered partner and any children you might have (including stepchildren) will receive your severance pay after your death in equal shares.

The named entitled persons must request payment in writing from BVK within three months. If an entitled person misses this deadline, they can later assert their claim by filing a lawsuit against the other entitled persons.

If no one contacts BVK within this period, the severance payment is transferred to the estate.

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