Working Conditions in Austria

1. Salary

Austria has no nationwide minimum wage, and instead relies on industry-specific guidelines according to each CBA. Employee salaries must be compliant with CBA stipulations regarding industry-wide minimum salaries. The CBA-stipulated minimum salary is an inalienable regulation. An individual employment agreement that stipulates a lower salary than that stated in the relevant CBA is considered void from inception. However, the parties may agree on a higher salary than the minimum salary.

Yearly employment salaries are paid out in fourteen installments. There are twelve standard monthly installments, and then two special payments called “vacation” and “Christmas” payments. The amount of these special payments depends on the terms of the relevant CBA.

2. Maximum Working Week

The Working Hours Act is the primary statute regulating the hours an employee may work. The act provides for a maximum work week of forty hours, with each work day not to exceed eight hours. However, most collective bargaining agreements impose a shorter maximum work week of thirty-eight and a half hours. If a daily working period consists of more than six consecutive.

Therefore regular working hours amount to 8 hours/day, which comes to 40 hours/week. Maximum working hours are 10 hours per day and 50 hours per week. However, executive employees are exempt from working time provisions.

3. Overtime

Overtime work is generally permitted in Austria. Blue-collar workers are the most frequent recipients of overtime payments. The overtime payment scheme is usually agreed to on a CBA- by-CBA basis, but where there is no mention of overtime in an employment agreement, the Working Time Act applies. The Working Time Act enacts a 25% wage increase on overtime pay given in consideration for hours worked greater than those agreed to in the employment agreement, but less than the statutory maximum of forty hours per week. Additionally, any overtime worked above the statutory maximum of forty hours per week will incur a 50% wage increase. Finally, overtime performed on Sundays, public holidays, or between midnight and six o’clock in the morning will incur a 100% wage increase.

In the case of an “all in” agreement, the employee agrees that all overtime work, regardless of the number of hours, is covered by their regular salary. The courts will generally allow this overtime scheme if the monthly salary, divided by the actual number of hours worked, produces an hourly wage above the CBA-dictated minimum hourly wage.

Overtime can be accrued 10 hours per week and 320 hour per year at the maximum.

4. Holidays

Vacation time, like working hours, is similarly mandated through a top down approach. The Austrian Vacation Act mandates that employees are entitled to a minimum of twenty-five paid vacation days a year, or thirty days if the employee has been employed for twenty-five years or more. Furthermore, employees are entitled to be paid for public holidays, except when those holidays fall on a Sunday. Full entitlement for these paid vacation days vests with the employees after they have been employed for six months. Before that period, they accrue vacation time on a pro rata basis. Accrued vacation time has a shelf life of two years. After that period of time, the employees are no longer entitled to their accrued paid vacation unless they have an agreement with the employer stating otherwise.

Employees have a claim of at least 5 weeks (25 working days)/work year. There are 13 statutory holidays per year. However, if these statutory holidays fall on a weekend, there are no compensation days.

5. Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace

There are many protection standards, especially with respect to legislation on occupational safety and health. This legislation principally applies to all employees in Austria.

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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