Working in Austria For Members

Can I get unemployment benefits in Austria if I'm self-employed?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Can I get unemployment benefits in Austria if I'm self-employed?
Pictured is a woman on the computer. Photo: Marek Levak / Pexels

If you work in Austria as a freelancer or self-employed person, it may be confusing to understand your rights, especially when it comes to unemployment benefits.


Self-employed workers or freelancers know they often have fewer benefits than their employed friends and co-workers. This is usually because companies must pay into several social systems offering mandatory benefits to their workers. But if you are your boss, you might not have contributed to the same systems and, therefore, will not have the same rights.

According to Austria's Public Employment Service AMS, self-employed persons can pay into unemployment insurance voluntarily to have access to the same benefits.

The agency said that in order to apply for unemployment benefits for the first time, applicants need to have paid into unemployment insurance for 52 weeks in the last 24 months. If they were employees subject to unemployment insurance and then became self-employed workers, that period working in a company also counts towards their observation period, and they may apply for unemployment benefits. 

READ ALSO: What to do when searching for a new job in Austria

If you have already received unemployment benefits previously, the so-called observation period you must be working before drawing the benefit again is at least 28 weeks (196 days) in the last 12 months. 


How can I sign up for unemployment insurance?

This is not done with the AMS, the agency says. Instead, you can contribute to unemployment insurance via your social insurance, which, in the case of freelancers and self-employed people, is the SVS. 

You can sign up in writing, but you have to do so in specific periods, depending on when you start your self-employment. You can check out more HERE.

You are then able to choose between three monthly contribution amounts, €52.14, €208.57 or €312.85 (2024 values), which will significantly influence your daily unemployment benefits: €28.43, €46.35 or €64.11 respectively (2024 values). 

You can apply online for unemployment insurance.

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


How to claim unemployment benefits in Austria

The first step to claiming unemployment benefits in Austria is registering as unemployed with the AMS. Then, you can apply to make a claim.

Applications should be submitted via an eAMS account, which is the AMS's online portal. Registration for an eAMS account can be found here.

For anyone unsure about this process, the AMS can be contacted by phone or email. The AMS team will then send out an application form for unemployment benefits by post.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also