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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Austria

9.Teachers and education staff

9.2Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Planning policy

Kindergarten teachers

The planning for the demand for kindergarten places and the connected demand for kindergarten teachers is the responsibility of the federal provinces and the private/ecclesiastical provider organisations. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

In 2008 the Federal Institute for Educational Research, Innovation and Development of the Austrian School System (BIFIE) was established to continuously improve the school system. On 1 July 2020, pursuant to the IQS Act, Federal Law Gazette I No. 50/2019, the BIFIE became IQS – Federal Institute for Quality Assurance in the Austrian School System. The IQS provides both statistical and also content-related expertise for educational policy discussions and the management of the education sector in Austria.

The reporting system also includes demographic, administrative and organisational data on teachers. In this way, the IQS supports the medium-term and longer-term staff planning for the demand for teachers of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). 

Entry to the profession

Kindergarten teachers

Vacancies for kindergarten teachers are advertised by the respective provider of the institution (federal province, private or church institutions). A requirement for employment is specialist training (graduation from a teacher training college for early childhood education or a VET course for early childhood education).

In Vorarlberg and Salzburg, good repute and an extract from police records as well as proof of suitable health in the form of a medical certificate are also required for employment.

For kindergarten teachers in Burgenland, who are entrusted with the leadership of groups at mixed-language kindergartens, a professional requirement for employment is also sufficient knowledge of the language of the ethnic group concerned (Croatian or Hungarian). A similar provision regulates the required knowledge of kindergarten teachers in the Slovenian language in bilingual kindergartens in Carinthia.

In Lower Austria and Salzburg, institutional childcare facilities for children under the age of three and/or age-extended groups also allow for other relevant qualifications, such as a degree from an university or university of applied sciences (social pedagogy, pedagogy, psychology, social work) or basic training comprising at least 220 teaching units (only Lower Austria). In this case in Salzburg, additional training in methodology and didactics for early childhood education is required for a total of 50 hours. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

In the area of teachers, sovereignty – depending on the school type – is allocated to various responsibilities (federal government, provinces, private educational establishment). In the area of public compulsory schools the provinces are responsible, in the area of public intermediate and upper secondary schools / colleges, responsibility lies with the federal government. The posts for teachers are advertised publicly. Depending on the responsibility (federal government, province, private educational establishment), these are published

Requirements for being employed are:

  • proof of Austrian citizenship/unrestricted access to the Austrian labour market
  • teaching qualification for the corresponding school type or completion of a diploma, master’s or doctoral programme from a recognised tertiary educational establishment
  • for lateral entrants to the teaching profession: additionally proof of practice for activities carried out independently or on a freelance basis

Preferences: In addition to the afore mentioned requirements, applicants with a full teaching qualification come into consideration primarily. Applicants who are in service as contract teachers or educators up to the end of the school year and, because of the lack of demand, cannot continue to be employed in their previous capacity, but also teachers returning from working abroad, in particular lecturers, have preference over applicants who are not currently working if the same requirements are otherwise met. Applicants who are in service and want to be transferred have priority over new applicants and graduates of teaching internships. Applicants who are not (fully) qualified to teach can be considered only if no fully qualified applicants are available. [More]

The application is via the respective regional education boards/the respective provincial governments: after registration on the respective online platform, the applicant is given a points account based on the assessments of the VET qualification and other criteria (e.g. professional experience, teaching internship). Depending on the quality of the application, the applicants are assessed and corresponding positions allocated.

If no suitable person is found to fill a position, people can also be accepted who, initially, do not fulfil the requirements entirely if it is expected that they will fulfil these at a later point in time. This regulation is applied in particular for lateral entrants in VET subjects. For teachers who enter the teaching profession for the first time since 1 September 2019, the employment relationship begins with a compulsory one-year induction period which has to be completed positively in order to continue being employed in the teaching profession. 

Induction

Kindergarten teachers

For kindergarten teachers there is no induction period. The corresponding practical training is already integrated in the training. Some providers offer mentoring for new kindergarten teachers who have only just completed their training. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

Since 2019, it is compulsory for teachers to start their career with an induction year. Teachers who already enter the teaching profession after completing the bachelor’s programme are obliged to complete the master’s programme within five years. If a teacher does not complete the master’s programme within five years, this represents grounds for dismissal for the employer. This regulation is limited in time until 2029, after this the master’s programme can no longer be completed on a part-time basis.

During the induction period the teachers are supervised by a mentor. Mentors are active teachers with additional training in the area of mentoring. In addition to supervision at the school, the teachers are obliged to attend induction courses at a university college of teacher education. The school head is obliged to give an expert report on the performance and behaviour of the teacher in the induction period. 

Professional status

Kindergarten teachers

No general statement can be made with regard to employment relationships (duration, type of contract, fixed-term) for the occupational field of early childhood education. The respective legal regulations are determined by the individual federal provinces within the scope of their responsibility for the early childhood education sector. The legal requirements for kindergarten teachers in private establishments are regulated by provisions in collective agreements. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

As a rule, the employment relationship as a teacher is in the beginning based on a service contract of limited or unlimited duration. Employment requires the availability of a corresponding post as included in the budget and the required number of weekly lessons.

Basically, service contracts must be for an unlimited duration. Term limitations can arise

  1. from the contract (in particular with a contract for substitution or for another temporary need) and/or
  2. from the law on account of the induction period.

If the duration of fixed-term employment relationships entered with a teacher exceeds five years, the last entered employment relationship will apply as a tenured employment relationship from this point.

Teachers at public compulsory schools are in an employment relationship under private law or public law with the province and teachers at federal schools with the federal government. Specific employment tasks (pedagogical and instructional core tasks) and employment obligations (e.g. compliance with period of service, notification of actions liable to result in criminal proceedings, etc.) are set out in the employment laws. 

Replacement measures

Kindergarten teachers

No general statement can be made with regard to employment relationships (duration, type of contract, fixed-term) for the occupational field of early childhood education. The respective legal regulations are determined by the individual federal provinces within the scope of their responsibility for the early childhood education sector. The legal requirements for kindergarten teachers in private establishments are regulated by provisions in collective agreements. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

The teacher has to be allocated either directly to a school or to the pool of substitute teachers. Employment as a substitute teacher must not exceed two years without the consent of the provincial contract teacher. In this capacity they teach at schools where there is a longer-term need for a substitute.

If a teacher is temporarily absent, he/she is replaced by the other teachers working at the school (substitution). In case of a longer-term absence (sabbatical, parental leave, care leave) there are two options:

  • either the lessons taught by the teacher who is unavailable for work (more than two weeks) are assigned to one or more other teachers on a permanent basis; teachers already at the corresponding school must be used first here;
  • or a replacement teacher is employed for the time of the other teacher’s inability to work. 

Supporting measures

Kindergarten teachers

The offer of support measures for kindergarten staff is the responsibility of the federal province in whose jurisdiction the ECEC service / institution falls, or of any private/church provider organisation itself. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

If necessary, teachers are supported by their superiors and, if appropriate, by tutors and the school psychology service. In addition, university colleges of teacher education offer one-on-one and group supervision.

Tenured teachers can furthermore take advantage of a reduction of their teaching duties for up to two years with payment of part of their salary. 

Salaries

Kindergarten teachers

The remuneration of kindergarten teachers in a public-law employment relationship is subject to the remuneration law of the federal provinces.

In the payment provisions for employees of private kindergartens a minimum monthly wage of EUR 2,350.00 (full-time employment) is stipulated. 

  • For work in special kindergartens they receive a monthly allowance of EUR 207.50.
  • Kindergarten heads receive a monthly management allowance of EUR 108.20 gross for one group. For each additional group the allowance increases by EUR 46.40 gross.

A salary adjustment is foreseen every two years. For kindergarten teachers in private kindergartens the generally applicable holiday entitlement for employees of five weeks per year applies. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

With the 2013 Amendment to the Service Code (introduction of the new Teacher Service Code) the different salary classes for teachers were adjusted. [More]

The minimum remuneration in the new Teacher Service Code is EUR 2,578.78 per month. Other factors for calculating the salary are the assumption of additional functions and activities at the school, the allocation of the pay level (seven pay levels) on account of possible recognition of pre-service periods and subject remuneration for subjects requiring a particularly high amount of support.

Lateral entrants in the new Teacher Service Code (in particular teachers of VET subjects) can have up to twelve years of pre-service periods taken into consideration. This means that if they have completed sufficient pre-service periods, they can already enter at a higher pay level. Supplements to the minimum salary of teachers in the new Teacher Service Code can be:

  • For teaching in subjects in which extra work is expected in preparation or follow-up activities (e.g. German, foreign languages), bonuses of up to EUR 563.20 are paid.
  • If special functions are assumed (e.g. educational counselling, mentoring, learning design, coordination of career guidance, special and therapeutic education, practical school teaching, etc.), an additional amount of up to EUR 160.10 is paid each month.
  • In the event of assumption of administrative support and representation of the school management, an additional bonus of EUR 426.90 to EUR 767.60 is paid per month.
  • If the position of head of a department is assumed, an additional bonus of EUR 746.10 to EUR 906.10 is paid per month.
  • If the position of head of a subject is assumed, an additional bonus of EUR 320.20 to EUR 480.30 is paid per month.
  • If a school management position is assumed, the additional monthly bonuses are, depending on the size of the school, between EUR 639.30 and EUR 1,758.90. In the case of small schools with up to 10 teachers allocated to full-employment equivalents, the bonus for school management is up to EUR 480.30 per month.

For teachers in the old Service Code cf. Emoluments Act 1956: The old Service Code also stipulates service bonuses for specific additional activities. 

Working time and holydays

Kindergarten teachers

For kindergarten teachers in a public-law employment relationship there are different regulations. In ECEC services / institutions which are open all year round the generally applicable holiday entitlement for employees of five weeks per year applies. For establishments that are closed during holidays, it is usually the case that most of the holiday entitlement must be used during the holiday period. The working time is specified by the respective establishments and is oriented towards the established posts.

For kindergarten teachers in private kindergartens the generally applicable holiday entitlement for employees of five weeks per year applies. The working time is specified in the respective employment contract. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

The teaching duties are based on:

The obligation to teach (one lesson = 50 minutes) with direct contact to the pupils was brought into line with the 2013 Amendment to the Service Code in the new Teacher Service Code for all school types. This adds up to 24 hours per week, minus two hours per week for parent/pupil consulting hours and or form teacher, mentors, etc., i.e. obligation to teach of 22 hours per week (20 hours per week for subjects which require a lot of preparation and follow-up work at upper-secondary level). [More]

Reductions in the number of hours are possible under the following circumstances [More]:

  • For school heads: from a school size of more than ten full-employment equivalents a school head is exempt from the obligation to teach. In a school with fewer than ten full-employment equivalents (small school) an exemption of 25% to 50% is possible. School management training is required if a school manager position is assumed.
  • Teachers can be exempt from the obligation to teach for a sabbatical of at least six and a maximum of twelve months during a timeframe of two to five full school years with a proportionate reduction of pay.
  • Depending on their employment relationship, teachers who cannot teach or cannot teach to the full extent have the following options available for leave or a reduction in the number of hours:
    • parental and care leave
    • reduction in the number of hours after parental or care leave with a reduction in the salary they continue to receive
    • leave for necessary stays at a health resort
    • a reduction of the teaching obligation for up to two years with a reduction in the salary they continue to receive on account of health reasons  
    • a reduction of the teaching obligation for up to five years with a reduction in the salary they continue to receive on account of subject-specific continuing education and training
    • a reduction of the teaching obligation by up to ten years with a reduction in the salary they continue to receive on account of carrying out other activities corresponding with  the task of an Austrian school

Obligation to teach of teachers in the old Federal Teacher Service Code:

The obligation to teach is for 20 hours per week. These hours per week are allocated to certain units of value (oriented towards the school type, school subject and class size), which gives the scope of activities of the teachers in the following areas:

  • teaching incl. counselling on teaching activities
  • preparation and follow-up activities and corrections
  • other activities (mentoring, support in practice schools, career guidance, administra­tion, etc.)

Obligation to teach of teachers in the old Provincial Teacher Service Code:

The annual standard of provincial teachers in the old Teacher Service Code is 1,736 or 1,776 hours per year. The total number of hours per school year, which corresponds with the posts allocated on account of the number of pupils at the school, must be attributed to the extent of 720 to 792 hours per year for the teaching obligation (activities in contact with pupils), to the extent of 600 to 660 hours per year for preparing classes and follow-up activities and also correction work. The remaining number of hours per year must be used for other activities.

Regulations on vacation times:

Teachers are entitled to a vacation during the school holidays unless special duties (standing in for the school head, taking exams) need to be met. They can be called back from their vacation for important service-related reasons, however only for the absolutely necessary period of time.

Special leave (with full salary) (e.g. for continuing education and training, for personal reasons such as marriage, the birth of a child, death in the family, relocation) can be granted upon application. In addition there is the possibility of taking a leave of absence (cf. text above). In both cases this must not be in conflict with any obligatory service-related requirements or reasons. Otherwise no salary will be paid out.

On the occasion of the birth of a child, teachers can take parental leave to take care of their child up to the age of two years. The parental leave can be divided and shared with the father two times.

Teachers are entitled to part-time employment of limited duration. 

Promotion, advancement

Kindergarten teachers

Kindergarten teachers can take over the management of a kindergarten. Another (career) opportunity is the function of a kindergarten inspector. Corresponding continuing education and training is regulated specifically for each federal province and, in some cases, also for each provider.

To further professionalise and academise kindergarten teachers, bachelor’s degree courses have been developed in recent years which are specifically aimed at trained kindergarten teachers and (future) managers in particular:

  • The part-time bachelor’s programme “Early Childhood Education: Inclusion and Leadership” comprises 6 semesters/180 ECTS and can be completed at the university colleges of teacher education and ecclesiastical university colleges of teacher education in Vienna and Lower Austria. The programme is concluded with a Bachelor of Education (BEd).
  • The part-time bachelor’s programme “Social Management in Early Childhood Education” at the University of Applied Sciences Campus Vienna comprises 5 semesters with 180 ECTS and is concluded with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences (BA).
  • The part-time bachelor’s programme “Early Childhood Education” comprises 180 ECTS in 6 semesters and is concluded with a Bachelor of Education (BEd). The programme can be completed at the university colleges of teacher education and ecclesiastical university colleges of teacher education in Salzburg, Upper Austria and also in Carinthia, Burgenland and Styria.
  • The part-time university course (Universitätslehrgang, ULG) lasts for 6 semesters with 120 ECTS and is concluded with a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

Within the school’s sphere of tasks, teachers not only carry out teaching and educational activities but also fulfil other duties connected with the teaching position (such as administering the collection of teaching materials, conducting form teacher activities, doing the administration and managing workshops).

Advancement options for teachers include school management and school supervision

 

Mobility and transfers

Kindergarten teachers

Kindergarten teachers in provincial or municipal service may, with their consent, be assigned to another kindergarten for substitution if necessary. Kindergarten teachers in private kindergartens work only for the establishment/provider with which they have a valid employment relationship. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

Within the school’s sphere of tasks, teachers not only carry out teaching and educational activities but also fulfil other duties connected with the teaching position (such as administering the collection of teaching materials, conducting form teacher activities, doing the administration and managing workshops).

Advancement options for teachers include school management and school supervision (school quality management). 

Dismissals

Kindergarten teachers

For kindergarten teachers in provincial or municipal service the reasons and possibilities for ending the employment relationship are set out in the respective employment contracts. Here they are subject to the general service law regulations for provincial or municipal employees.

For kindergarten teachers in private kindergartens the reasons and possibilities for ending the employment relationship are set out in the respective employment contracts with the kindergarten operators. The general labour law provisions apply in this case. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

Apart from retirement, the employment relationship can be terminated both by the teacher and by the employer (federal government or provincial government). The employment relationship is terminated by dismissal due to lack of success at work or as a result of

  • a decision to take disciplinary measures,
  • furthermore due to resignation from work as a teacher,
  • revocation of the work contract
  • as well as due to loss of the official position on account of a prison sentence of more than one year.

In addition, in the new Teacher Service Code 2013, non-completion of a required study programme within five years also represents further grounds for dismissal by the employer.

The types of termination of employment relationships and the temporal effects differ depending on whether the person is an official or a contractual employee. 

Retirement and pensions

Kindergarten teachers

Kindergarten teachers in provincial or municipal service have an employment relationship under public law which is not terminated but only changed legally. The statutory retirement age is 65 years. In addition to retirement on account of age, Austrian law stipulates other types of retirement (e.g. retirement because of invalidity or the flexible retirement scheme called Korridorpension).

Contractual employees: in the case of contractual employees, the employment relationship is ended by termination. The statutory retirement age of women is 60. From 2024 until 2033 the retirement age of women will be gradually raised from 60 to 65 years. 

Teachers at primary and secondary level

Officials are only retired, they therefore remain officials for life.

Currently a certain amount of teachers retiring still dispose of an employment relationship under public law which is not terminated but only changed legally. The statutory retirement age is 65 years. An official can delay his/her retirement if there is a significant interest of the service for him/her to remain. The delay may be for a minimum of one year and, overall, for a maximum of five years. In addition to retirement on account of age, Austrian law stipulates other types of retirement (e.g. retirement because of invalidity or the flexible retirement scheme called Korridorpension).

Contractual teachers: in the case of contractual employees, the employment relationship is ended by termination. As with officials, the statutory retirement age of men is 65. From 2024 until 2033 the retirement age of women will be gradually raised from 60 to 65 years.