Social insurance under the General Social Insurance Act (ASVG)


In principle, the following groups of persons are subject to (full or partial) compulsory insurance under the ASVG:

  • Employees
  • Marginally employed persons (accident insurance only)
  • Free service contractors (freie Dienstnehmer)
  • Homeworkers
  • Persons employed at their parents’ (grand-parents‘, adoptive parents’ or step-parents’) business even if they do not receive any remuneration for their work,
  • Management board members and managing shareholders of companies limited by shares (AG)
  • Managing partners in limited liability companies (GesmbH)

Service contracts and employment contracts for salaried employees or for wage-earners are subject to compulsory insurance under the General Social Insurance Act (ASVG) provided that the monthly pay exceeds the applicable marginal earnings threshold.

In 2017, the marginal earnings threshold was EUR 425.70 per month. 

The employer has to register the employee with the competent social insurance institution. In most cases, these are the competent regional health insurance funds (GKK), in some cases the Austrian Insurance Institution for Public-Sector Employees (BVA) is in charge. The employer has to maintain a payroll account, calculate the social insurance contribution on a monthly basis, and pay them to the social insurance fund. Insurance under the ASVG includes health, pension and accident insurance as well as access to unemployment insurance

Amount of contributions in 2017

The employees pay contributions in the amount of 17.12% of their gross salary (employee’s contribution). The employers contribute 20,63% of the gross salary paid (employer’s contribution).

Good to know 

The Austrian employment system provides for twelve monthly salaries per year plus two bonus payments, each amounting to another monthly salary (13th and 14th monthly salary). As these bonus payments, which in most cases are paid in June and November, are subject to a lower tax rate, the net amount received is higher than the ‘regular’ salary. In the case of temporary employment, these bonus payments are paid on a pro rata basis. 

Social insurance for free service contractors

Free service contractors (freie Dienstnehmer) are also subject to compulsory ASVG insurance if their monthly remuneration exceeds the applicable marginal earnings threshold.

In 2017, the marginal earnings threshold was EUR 425.70 per month.

Free service contractors are covered by pension, health and accident insurance. Since 2008, they have been entitled to cash benefits under the health insurance scheme (maternity allowance, sickness benefits) under the same rules as employees. Free service contractors have also been included in the unemployment insurance scheme and have been entitled to insolvency payments since 2008. 

The employer is obligated to register each contract with a free service contractor with the respective regional insurance fund as soon as the contractor takes up work. This duty of registration also applies to marginally employed free service contractors.

Please note

Free service contractors are neither entitled to continued pay when they are sick nor to a holiday bonus!

Amount of contributions

The employee pays 17.12% (employee’s contribution) and the employer 20.63% (employer’s contribution) of the contribution basis. The employer is responsible for transferring the employee’s contributions and the employer’s contributions to the regional insurance fund.

In addition, a contribution of 1.53% of the employee’s pay must be paid into a pension fund under the new severance pay scheme.

Social insurance for marginally employed persons

Marginally employed persons are persons whose pay as employees or free service contractors is below the lower earnings limit. Up to that threshold, the income of employees and free service contractors is not subject to compulsory insurance provided that the employee/contractor does not have any additional employment. 

Whether an employment is marginal is assessed differently from the employee and the employer’s perspective.

For the employee, the following applies

If an employee receives income from several employers which, in total, exceeds the marginal earnings threshold, then the employee is subject to compulsory health and pension insurance. In such case, the regional insurance fund (GKK) will charge employee for the respective social insurance contributions at the end of the year.

Please note

Compulsory social insurance also applies if an employee subject to full compulsory insurance is also marginally employed and earns an additional income, let’s say, of EUR 200. In such case, full compulsory insurance has to be paid for the EUR 200 as well.

Example

A dancer is employed with a company throughout the year and earns a monthly gross salary of EUR 2,500. In addition, she teaches dance for children at an ongoing education and training centre and earns EUR 250 a month for these classes. This additional income is subject to full compulsory insurance.

Voluntary self-insurance

Employees whose income falls short of the marginal earnings threshold may opt for voluntary self-insurance. In such case, an application has to be filed. 

Legal basis: section 19a ASVG

Amount of contributions

In 2017, the monthly contribution to health and pension insurance for self-insured persons under section 19a ASVG was EUR 60.09 for students it is EUR 56.74.

Example

A singer has savings from a larger project. For one semester, she only teaches one voice coaching course of three hours per week at a school of music. She is marginally employed and earns EUR 330 per month. She is entitled to take out voluntary health and pension insurance at the favourable terms and conditions described above. Her children, as her dependants, are also covered by this voluntary insurance.

For the employer, the following applies

Regardless of the amount of their pay, all employees (including the marginally employed ones) have to be registered with the competent social insurance institution. Payroll accounts have to be maintained for all of them, too. For marginally employed staff, the employers only pay accident insurance contributions. If, however, the aggregate wages/salaries of all marginally employed persons is more than 1 ½ times higher than the marginal earnings threshold, the employer has to pay a lump-sum of 17.8% of the sum total paid to marginally employed persons without this giving rise to insurance coverage.

Exemption from prescription fees

An exemption from the payment of prescription fees is also available to those insured with a regional insurance fund (GKK) provided that their income is low. In order to be granted such exemption, you have to make a request to the competent regional insurance fund.

More information

Austrian social insurance system

Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions (Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger)

Information provided by the respective regional health insurance funds, for instance the Vienna Regional Health Insurance Fund (WGGK)

Information brochure by the Austrian Cultural Council (Kulturrat Österreich): Selbstständig-Unselbstständig-Erwerbslos (Self-Employed-Employed-Unemployed)

Legal bases

General Social Insurance Act (Allgemeines Versicherungsgesetz, ASVG)

Social Insurance Act for Commerce and Trade (Gewerbliches Versicherungsgesetz, GSVG)

Act on Social Insurance for the Liberal Professions (Freiberufliches Sozialversicherungsgesetz, FSVG)

Act on Social Insurance for Farmers (Bauern-Sozialversicherungsgesetz, BSVG)

Act on Health and Accident Insurance for Civil Servants (Beamten-Kranken- und Unfallversicherungsgesetz, B-KUVG)

General Pensions Act (Allgemeines Pensionsgesetz, APG)

Overview of social insurance institutions

Burgenland Regional Health Insurance Fund (Burgenländische Gebietskrankenkasse, BGKK)

Insurance Fund for Civil or Public Servants (Versicherungsanstalt öffentlich Bediensteter, BVA)

Carinthian Regional Health Insurance Fund (Kärntner Gebietskrankenkasse, KGKK)

Lower Austrian Regional Health Insurance Fund (Niederösterreichische Gebietskrankenkasse, NÖGKK)

Upper Austrian Regional Health Insurance Fund (Oberösterreichische Gebietskrankenkasse, OÖGKK)

Salzburg Regional Health Insurance Fund Salzburger Gebietskrankenkasse, SGKK)

Styrian Regional Health Insurance Fund (Steiermärkische Gebietskrankenkasse, STGKK)

Social Insurance Authority for Business (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Gewerblichen Wirtschaft, SVA)

Austrian Farmers’ Social Security Authority (Sozialversicherungsanstalt der Bauern, SVB)

Tyrolean Regional Health Insurance Fund (Tiroler Gebietskrankenkasse, TGKK)

Vorarlberg Regional Health Insurance Fund (Vorarlberger Gebietskrankenkasse, VGKK)

Vienna Regional Health Insurance Fund (Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse, WGKK)