Employment Contracts in Austria

1. Minimum Requirements

The following information has to be provided to an employee either in the employment contract or on a service note:

  • name and address of the employer
  • name and address of the employee
  • commencement of the employment relationship
  • end of the employment relationship (in case of limited duration)
  • notice period, termination date
  • regular place of work
  • classification in a general scheme (CBA)
  • description of tasks
  • starting salary, due date
  • amount of vacation
  • regular working hours (amount, allocation)
  • applicable collective regulations (e.g. CBA)
  • name and address of the employee benefit fund

2. Fixed-term/Open-ended Contracts

Fixed term employment contracts are permissible in Austria. An employment agreement will be considered “fixed term” if the length of the contract is clearly defined in the terms of the agreement, or if the agreement contains an explicit termination date.

Generally, there is no premature termination. If agreed upon, the premature termination must be reasonable with regard to the limitation.

Using fixed term employment contracts restricts the employer’s right to terminate an employee with notice. However, the fixed term nature of the contract does not influence the employer’s right to summarily dismiss the fixed term employee.

3. Trial Period

Both parties to an employment agreement may add a probationary period to the outset of the agreement for a limited period of time. This probationary clause allows either the employer or the employee to terminate the employment agreement at any time during the probationary period without the requirements of notice. This probationary option is not assumed, and must be explicitly included in the employment agreement. Furthermore, this probationary period must be no longer than one month in duration.

4. Notice Period

As an alternative to the stringent requirements of the termination by notice procedure, an employer and employee may agree upon a termination date, and thereby bypass the notice requirements. In this case, the employee is still entitled to his statutory severance payments and may not legally waive those rights.

§ 20 of the Salaried Employees dictates that employers must provide at least a six-week notice period before they terminate an employee’s contract. The notice period increases to two months after the employee’s second year of employment, three months after the fifth year, four months after the fifteenth year, and five months after the twenty-fifth year. Giving notice of termination does not require a concrete cause. Conversely, an employee may file notice and, regardless of the number of years of service, must do so one month before her intended termination date.

The employer must inform the works council at least seven days before providing an employee with notice of termination. After the employer notifies the works council, the council has seven days to deliberate on the termination and provide a response. During this period of deliberation, the works council must decide whether it will explicitly approve the termination, object to the termination, or refrain from any comment. The position that the works council chooses to make has no bearing on the process of the termination proceeding itself. The decision is only relevant to post-termination matters, like a legal contest of termination. However, any termination by notice that takes place without the works council being informed is void.

In addition to the notice requirements, standard termination procedures must also abide by specifically enumerated termination dates. Termination dates are the statutorily or contractually pre-designated days that an employment agreement must terminate. This is independent from the requirement of the notice period, and usually operates to extend employment from the last day of the notice period to the termination date. The Salaried Employers Act mandates that termination dates must fall on the last day of a calendar quarter, but allows for CBAs to modify this requirement to allow termination dates to fall on the fifteenth or last day of each month.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Austria, please contact Gerlach Rechtsanwälte
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