The best employee benefits by Austrian employers

Katharina Waltner
We trade time, know-how and motivation for a monthly salary with our employers. In addition, many companies offer so-called employee benefits in order to upgrade this deal and show their employees more appreciation. As an extra bonus will hardly impress today’s experts anymore, the companies need to come up with new benefits time and again. After all, they wish to win over, hold on to and motivate good employees, which is why they increasingly grant benefits instead of the classic raise in salary

Why do companies spend money on employee benefits?

Strategic benefits and extra services demonstrate the company’s appreciation for its workforce. Such incentives not only improve the work atmosphere but ideally also the climate between colleagues. Employees who feel appreciated are generally more productive and loyal to their employers.

Moreover, numerous voluntary employee benefits enjoy certain tax privileges.

The benefits companies grant their employees are as diverse as the companies themselves. And that is a good thing, as voluntary extra benefits must also fit into the corporate culture of the employer.

Many employees are more impressed by additional benefits than monetary incentives.

We took a closer look at the top 10 most popular extra benefits by Austrian companies.   

1. Flexible working hours

As many employees consider fixed working hours as outdated, the companies developed all kinds of different work schedules. 

Flexitime

Numerous companies established flexitime rosters, enabling employees to come to work and leave as they wish, often also without fixed core hours. Employees may accumulate time credit if there is more work and use it up at times of less workload.   

30-hour week

Less often but still occasionally companies offer 30-hour weeks at full salary. Many employees are much more productive in shorter weeks because they work more efficiently and do not want to get distracted by time-consuming activities.   

4-day week

This work schedule distributes the hours over the course of four days. Employees benefit from an additional free day per week. 

As much vacation as you need/want:

Harder to find are arrangements that enable employees to take as much time off as they need. Needless to say, such benefits require the company to show a lot of trust in its employees.  

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2. Home office

The Covid-19 pandemic revealed what many executives could not imagine before – employees can also do a good job from home. Some companies allowed their employees to work from home at least at certain days even prior to the corona crisis. Their employees save time they would usually spend on their way to work and can arrange their hours as they wish, e.g. to run private errands.   

3. Mobility

Company cars

A benefit particularly suitable for employees in the field is a company car they may also use for private purposes. Such use of the company car results in an increase of the assessment base for income tax and social security with regard to their salary.   

Job ticket

Especially in larger cities companies pay for their employees to use public transport. Job tickets may also be used for private purposes. The tickets the companies purchase for their employees enjoy tax privileges. 

4. Childcare

Larger companies often provide workplace nurseries. Employees may drop off their children when they are at the office and pick them up afterwards.

If they do not offer such services on site, certain employers grant financial benefits to cover the costs of childcare.  

5. Culinary employee incentives

It is well known that the way to the heart is through the stomach – also at the workplace. For this reason, a lot of employers in Austria offer benefits to ensure an affordable lunch for their employees. 

Larger companies often provide cafeterias with freshly prepared lunch options, so their employees do not need to leave the premises to find something to eat. The costs for their lunch are often subsidised by the employer.   

If there is no cafeteria, many companies distribute lunch vouchers their employees may use in certain stores or restaurants.

Smaller companies sometimes organise free lunch for everyone to sit down together.  

Quite often companies provide their employees with fruit and vegetable baskets or light snacks for between meals.

6. Fitness/Wellness/Health

Employees feel more comfortable in a healthy work environment. Many companies attach great importance to ergonomic office design.

Employees still suffering from back or joint problems benefit from free or affordable massages that many companies offer as popular employee benefits.

Also sports and exercise are growing in popularity as incentives. Everything from free yoga classes at company premises to reduced gym memberships is possible. 

Quite frequently employees also benefit from subsidised vaccinations and health checks organised by the company during working hours.

Such benefits are already part of routine “workplace health promotion” programmes in many companies. 

7. Further education and training

Employees wishing to continue their studies are a great asset. Both the companies and their employees benefit from their additional know-how. For this reason, companies not only support them financially by covering their course fees but also allow them to attend such courses during working hours. Sometimes employees even receive a bonus or promotion for passing their exams (although they are taxed).  

8. Company events

Christmas parties, get togethers in summer, anniversary celebrations – company events promote solidarity not only within the team but also between departments in larger companies.

Teambuilding activities and company outings are becoming more and more popular, as employees are able to get to know and appreciate their colleagues outside the workplace.

Some companies also invite the partners and families of their employees to such events. The relatives ideally start bonding with the company and strengthen the relationship between employer and employee.  

9. Christmas gifts/birthday presents

Christmas gifts are different from one company to the next and largely depend on corporate culture.

Time credit and extra vacation days, for example, are very popular. As many collective agreements do not provide for 24 and 31 December to be days off, the companies offer them to their employees as free time. The employees may stay at home without having to consume a day’s leave. Some employers do the same for birthdays: employees may either stay at home for their birthday or choose another day off.

Companies make all kinds of gifts for Christmas ranging from gold coins to toll stickers and vouchers.

A bonus or gift is a popular benefit to celebrate a company anniversary. After all, loyalty deserves to be rewarded.  

10. Vouchers/reductions/discounts

Especially companies with works councils offer numerous benefits with regard to shopping or the use of services. The companies negotiate reduced prices, benefits and discounts on behalf of their employees. Vouchers, for example, are purchased at reduced rates and can then be redeemed at the shop.

Most companies offer employee discounts at least for products and services they produce or sell themselves. 

On the whole, Austrian collective agreements already include certain employee benefits. Aside from a Christmas and holiday bonus as well as statutory minimum wages, employees may not work in excess of the legally prescribed hours. Collective agreements also provide special leave for getting married, funerals or moving.

Katharina Waltner
Public Relations Manager, ABA - Work in Austria

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