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Explained: How to understand your payslip in Austria

If you're employed in Austria, your monthly payslip is a very important document, but it's all too easy to ignore the paperwork and just appreciate the money that arrives in your account. Even many native speakers struggle to understand some of the terms and numbers.

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How much will you actually receive each month? Photo: Christian Dubovan/Unsplash

The basics

Most Austrian employees receive their pay monthly on a fixed date. Exactly when this happens should be stated in your employment contract.

It’s stated in Austrian law that you must receive a payslip, and that the information must be complete, clear and comprehensible, so that you can understand how your pay is calculated.

This is important not only so that you can confirm the details and check for any errors, but also for your financial records.

Your payslip is made up of identification details about you and the employer; your gross and net salary; and a breakdown of the components, deductions and additions.

Employer and employee details

Each payslip will include the name and address of your employer as well as details about you, the employee. These include your name, address and date of birth; the billing period; your insurance number, tax category and tax ID number; your hiring date (Eintritt, and if applicable, the date your employment ended, called Austritt). You will usually be given a staff number (Personalnummer) by your employer too.

Lohn or Gehalt

Your payslip will specify whether you receive wages (Lohn) or a salary (Gehalt).

These terms are used interchangeably in some countries and in Austria in informal contexts. But the main difference is that you earn a Lohn if your employment is based on an hourly rate, which means your pay varies based on hours worked, while a Gehalt is based on a fixed monthly rate. People who receive a Lohn are often called Arbeiter/Arbeiterinnen (workers) in Austria, compared to people who receive a Gehalt who are classed as Angestellten (employees).

Many employers in Austria pay a 13th and 14th salary, but there is no legal entitlement to this — it depends what’s in your collective agreement and/or employment contract. If you do receive it, it is taxed at a different rate to your usual monthly salary (the first €620 of these special payments is tax-free, after which the rate is 6 percent).

Bezüge

This section is for additional payments that aren’t part of your basic salary or wages. You might also have a section for Sachbezüge or ‘benefits in kind’, which could include company cars or equipment. These are strictly regulated and you can see the full law here.

If you undertook any business trips, you might receive Taggeld (a per diem). For domestic trips (at least three hours long and at least 25 km from your place of work), these are tax-free up to €26.40 per day, and if your employer pays a higher rate, the amount above this is taxed. You may also receive Kilometergeld (a mileage allowance) if you had to drive there, which is tax-free up to €0.42 per km. Detailed information on reimbursements and tax rules for business trips can be found here.

If you worked any overtime, you will see some payments for Überstunden (overtime). Overtime pay is usually divided into two parts: Überstunden-Grundlohn (overtime – basic pay) which is paid at your usual salary, plus Überstunden-Zuschlag (overtime – supplementary pay) which is paid at an extra rate. Exactly what counts as overtime and what rate it is paid will be regulated in your collective agreement or employment contract, and the rate may be more if you had to work on evenings, weekends, public holidays or otherwise in abnormal conditions.

Bruttobezug 

This is the ‘gross salary’ and it’s important to check this amount because other key payments like social security or sick pay are based on this.

Abzüge

These are deductions from your salary.

The biggest one is almost certainly Sozialversicherungsbeiträge or social insurance contributions. It may be broken down into Pensionsversicherung (pension insurance — you pay 10.25 percent of your salary for this), Krankenversicherung (sickness insurance — 3.87 percent of your salary), Arbeitslosenversicherung (unemployment insurance — 3 percent of your salary).

Lohnsteuer

This is your income tax. Austria has a progressive tax system which means the higher you earn the more you pay, and there is a tax-free allowance so that the first €12,000 you earn as an employee is not subject to income tax.

The rates are changing in 2021, so that the second level (payable on income between €18,000 to €31,000) will be taxed at 32.5 percent rather than 35 percent, and if this applies to you, you should see the change in your payslip from January 2021.

Pendlerpauschale

This is a ‘commuter flat rate fee’ paid to many employees who commute to work. For most workers who are eligible, this works out as €400 per year, but the exact amount can depend on factors such as the distance to work and how many days per month you commute. You can find out more about how this is calculated from the Chamber of Commerce. As an alternative, from July 2021 employers have had the opportunity to pay the costs of employees’ annual transport tickets tax-free.

Lohnnebenkosten

Your payslip may also show additional costs of employment, called Lohnnebenkosten or Dienstgeberanteile. These are the things your employer has to pay in connection to your employment, but which are not calculated as part of your gross salary, such as the employer’s share of social security contributions.

Auszahlungsbetrag or Auszahlung

This is the most important number to you, because it’s the payout amount: the amount of money that will be sent to your bank account. This might be exactly the same as your net income, but in some cases it will also include additional non-income payments or deductions, such as reimbursements for work-related expenses.

Abbreviations to know

BMGLBemessungsgrundlage or taxable income

SVSozialversicherung or social insurance

SZSonderzahlung or special payment

LstLohnsteuer or income tax

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MONEY

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Austria’s climate bonus payment

Residents in Austria will receive up to €200 to compensate for the increase in energy and fuel prices created by the eco-social tax reform. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about Austria's climate bonus payment

The climate bonus, or Klimabonus in German, is an essential part of Austria’s eco-tax reform, a larger project with several measures to incentivise environmental choices such as riding the public transport.

The bonus would offset some of the costs brought by a new CO2 tax in Austria.

READ ALSO: Austrian government unveils ‘eco’ tax reform

“With the Klimabonus, we ensure that climate-friendly behaviour is rewarded and the people in our country are relieved. If you take good care of the climate, you pay less CO2 tax and end up having more of this money left”, Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said on Twitter.

The Austrian government plans to set up a web site with more information on the bonus in June. Until then, here is what you need to know about the new compensation and how to get it.

Who is entitled to the payment?

Anyone who has had their primary residence in Austria for at least 183 days will be entitled to the bonus. Children are also entitled, but if they are younger than 18 years old, they will receive 50 per cent of the respective amount of the climate bonus.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get your €500 Kurzarbeit bonus in Austria

“This is the first time that all people, regardless of age, place of residence, regardless of employment or pension or training status, have received a federal payment,” said Gewessler on Friday in the Ö1 broadcast.

What is this ‘respective amount’?

Not everyone will receive the same amount of money. The value changes depending on where the recipient lives and what is the offer of public transport there. Viennese, then, will receive the lowest amount of money: a one-off € 100 payment.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to claim your €200 voucher for electronics repair in Austria

There are four levels of payment depending on the municipality: €100 for urban centres with the highest-ranking development (which is only Vienna), €233 for urban centres with good development of public transport, €167 in centres and surrounding areas with good basic development of the public system, and € 200 for rural municipalities.

If you live in Austria’s second-largest city, Graz, you fall into the second category and should expect a €133 bonus.

Some exceptions to the geographical rule apply, so people with disabilities who cannot use public transport will receive the total climate bonus (€200) regardless of where they live.

The Federal Government had already stated it estimated that a third of Austria’s population would receive the highest bonus.

How to get the bonus?

The payment is pretty straightforward; there is no need to apply for it, and it will be done directly into your bank account, just make sure that you have it up to date on the FinanzOnline website – the final date to do so is June 30th.

Those who receive a pension and other benefits will receive the bonus in that same bank account.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How freelancers in Austria can pay four times less in social insurance

It is worth mentioning that the bank account doesn’t necessarily need to be from an Austrian bank.

People who don’t have a registered bank account will receive a letter with a voucher that can be redeemed in shops or exchanged for cash at a bank, Gewessler said.

According to the Ministry, payments should start at the beginning of October, and those receiving a transfer will not have to wait for long to see the money in their bank accounts. However, people receiving letters with the vouchers could have to wait a few weeks.

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