Short-Term Contracts as Independent Contractors

Employment based on a short-term contract as an independent contractor (freier Dienstvertrag) is characterized as follows:

-      no or low level of personal dependence

-      independent contractors may engage subcontractors to fulfil their obligations

-      they can use their own resources

-      they are not incorporated into the corporate organization

-      they are normally paid by the hour


In contrast to the contract for work and labour, there is no warranty to produce a certain work.

Independent contractors working on short term contracts with a monthly remuneration exceeding the minimum salary limit (in 2018: € 438,05) have to be registered by the employer with the competent regional health insurance fund and hence enjoy health insurance coverage. They are entitled to sickness benefits starting with the fourth day of occupational incapacity; they thus enjoy accident, unemployment and pension insurance as well as are subject to the Law on Insurance against Non-Payment in case of Insolvency (Insolvenzentgeltversicherungsgesetz, IESG) stipulations. Independent contractors are also entitled to receive a position specification statement (Dienstzettel).

Please note:
independent contractors only enjoy limited protection under the Austrian Labour Law. Without an appropriate agreement between the employer and the independent contractor there is however no legal entitlement to special benefits, vacation, a release from performance obligation and protection against dismissal. The Civil Code regulations (Allgemeine Bürgerliche Gesetzbuch (ABGB)) are however analogously applicable hereto regarding termination notice periods. They may receive severance pay when the applicable prerequisites have been satisfied and are subject to the Corporate Employee and Free-Lancer Pension Law (dem Betrieblichen Mitarbeiter- und Selbständigenvorsorgegesetz, BMSVG).

The employer must take out accident insurance for any persons receiving remuneration below the legally stipulated limit (low income employees, Geringfügig Beschäftigte) (monthly income up to € 438,05 in 2018).

Taking out voluntary health and pension insurance is possible; persons receiving remuneration below the legally stipulated limit have to apply at the competent regional health insurance fund themselves.

Independent contractors have to pay income taxes
when their annual income exceeds a certain amount. They are classified as entrepreneurs and have to apply for a tax identification number with the responsible fiscal authorities.[1]


http://www.arbeiterkammer.at/ (short term employment contract as an independent contractor (freier Dienstvertrag))

http://www.arbeiterkammer.at/ (brochure: Persons working on short term contracts as independent contractors (Broschüre: Freie DienstnehmerInnen))

https://www.usp.gv.at/ (persons working on short term contractors as independent contractors (Freie Dienstnehmer))

[1] Vgl. Bittner (2015): Living and Working in Austria, S. 47 – 48. Vienna: Public Employment Service Austria (AMS Österreich).