The Labour Law in Austria is regulated mainly by the Working Hours Act, 1969. The Act governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, employment relationships. The other acts that govern employment relationships are Rest Period Act, Parental Leave Act, Holiday Act.
Hours & Pay Regulations
An employee’s standard working hours is 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
Working time is the time from the beginning to the end of work without including the breaks. Daily working hours are the working hours within an uninterrupted period of 24 hours. Weekly working hours are the working hours within the period from Monday up to and including Sunday.
Distribution of Working hours – Through a collective agreement, normal working hours of up to 10 hours may be permitted. Daily working time shall not exceed 10 hours (including overtime) and weekly working time shall not exceed 50 hours(including overtime).
The working hours via collective bargaining agreement can be increased up to 60 hours weekly (including overtime) and 12 hours daily (including overtime) if the employee is ready to work.
The average working time for each 17-week period, including overtime, is capped at 48 hours a week. Collective agreements may permit an extension of this reference period to up to 26 weeks. Collective agreements may permit an extension of this reference period to up to 52 weeks for technical or work organization reasons.
Normal working time for shift work
In cases where work is performed in several shifts, the normal weekly working time within one block of shifts or for the purpose of averaging normal working time within the 8 weeks reference period must not exceed an average of 40 hours per week or the normal working time as may be agreed in the collective agreement.
Normal working time shall not exceed 9 hours unless agreed otherwise.
For shift work, Collective agreements may allow normal working hours including overtime to be extended up to 56 hours per week in a week, and the daily work hours to be extended up to 12 hours .
Flexible working hours
Flexible working hours mean that the employee can determine the beginning and end of his normal daily working hours himself within an agreed time frame.
The normal daily working time must not exceed 10 hours. An extension of the normal daily working hours to up to 12 hours is permitted if the flexitime agreement provides that a time credit can be used all day and consumption in connection with a weekly rest period cannot be ruled out.
The normal weekly working hours within the flexitime period may only exceed the normal weekly working hours on average if there are options for transferring time credits. If the employer orders working hours that exceed normal working hours, these are considered overtime. Working Hours Act 1969 (Last amended 2018), § § 2 – 4a, 4b.
Normal working hours with special recreational opportunities
If the work duration is extended up to 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week and if the employee has special opportunities to relax during working hours, the collective agreement for such work can authorize the works agreement to allow the normal daily working hours to be extended up to 24 hours three times a week, if through an occupational health report has been found that, due to the special working conditions, the employee is not exposed to a greater health burden than when performing the same activity as part of an extension of normal working hours.
Within a calculation period to be determined by a collective agreement, the normal weekly working time may not exceed an average of 60 hours and 72 hours in individual weeks of the calculation period. Working Hours Act 1969 (Last amended 2018), § § 5a.
Working time is also the time during which an employee who is otherwise employed in the company is employed in his own apartment or workshop or otherwise outside the company. If employees are employed by several employers, the individual jobs together may not exceed the statutory maximum working hours.
Any on-call duty outside working hours can be agreed upon between employer and employee for only 2 weekly rest periods per month. Rest period act, § 6a.
If the employee temporarily leaves his place of work (place of work) on behalf of the employer in order to perform his work in other locations, travel is permitted during the weekend and holiday rest if this is necessary to reach the travel destination or in the interests of the employee. Travel times can exceed the maximum working hours.
If there are sufficient recreational opportunities during the travel time, the daily rest period can be shortened. A collective agreement can stipulate in which cases there are sufficient opportunities for recreation. Working Hours Act 1969 (Last amended 2018), § § 20B.
An employer shall maintain a record for employees which should contain the hours worked by employees and the beginning and duration of a reference period.
The employer must keep records of the location, duration, and type of employment of all employees employed during the weekend, weekly, substitute, or holiday rest period as well as the substitute rest granted.
The employer must keep records that show the duration of the paid vacation to the employee, the time during which the employee took his paid vacation, and the remuneration that the employee received for the duration of the paid vacation. Working Hour Act 1969 (Last amended 2018), § 26, Rest period Act § 25, Holiday Act, § 8.
Any work beyond 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week is considered overtime.
Employees shall not work more than 20 hours of overtime per week. The daily total working time may not exceed 12 hours including overtime. In case of extension of working hours via collective agreement, the total working hours inclusive of overtime shall not exceed 60 hours per week and 13 hours per day.
The employees are free to refuse overtime without giving reasons if the daily working time of 10 hours or the weekly working time of 50 hours is exceeded.
An employee is entitled to a premium of 50% or time off in lieu of each overtime hour. Overtime premium pay calculation is based on the normal hourly rate of wage. Collective agreements may determine whether, in the absence of any different agreement, overtime compensation shall take the form of cash payment or time in lieu, etc.
Collective bargaining agreements generally provide for premium pay under certain other conditions, including night work, noisy workplaces, and heavy work. Working Hour Act 1969 (Last amended 2018), § 6.
Night shall mean the time between 10.00 p.m. and 05.00 a.m. Night employee shall mean any employee working regularly, or unless otherwise provided by collective agreement- for at least 48 nights within any calendar year at least 3 hours during night-time.
In case of extension of normal working hours through a collective agreement, if the average daily working time of night employees within a calculation period of 26 weeks is more than 8 hours, additional rest periods are due.
The daily working hours during the night, including overtime, can exceed 8 hours within a calculation period of 26 weeks if agreed upon through a collective agreement. Working Hour Act 1969 (Last amended 2018), § 12a, 5.
If a workday exceeds 6 hours, employers must allow for an unpaid rest period of at least 30 minutes.
In cases where it is required for operational reasons etc., a rest break can be replaced by 2 rest breaks of 15 minutes each or by 3 rest breaks of 10 mins each. Any single period of a rest break shall be of at least 10 minutes. Break time is not included in the working time of an employee.
Employees who perform heavy night work must be given a short break of at least 10 minutes during each night in which this work is performed and such interruptions at work can be considered as short breaks.
In the case of work that requires uninterrupted progress on weekdays and Sundays, employees working in alternating shifts are to be granted short breaks of an appropriate duration instead of the breaks as defined above. Such a pause regulation can also be made with other continuous multi-shift working methods.
Short breaks for night work and uninterrupted work on weekdays and Sundays shall count as working time.
Employees in airline undertakings – The daily rest period of employees working in the airline’s industry can be reduced to 10 hours in cases, where such employees after this reduced rest period have an unpaid break of 30 minutes as well as an additional 30 minutes break time after 6 hours of the beginning of their shift. Working Hours Act, § 11, 18d.
Employers must provide employees with 11 consecutive hours of rest after the end of the day’s working hours. The rest periods can be reduced to a minimum period of 8 hours via collective agreement. Such reduced rest period shall be compensated within the next 10 calendar days by a corresponding extension of another daily or weekly rest period.
For work that requires uninterrupted progress on workdays and Sundays with shift changes, the daily rest period can be reduced to one shift length, but not less than 8 hours, once in shift rotation. Another daily rest period must be extended accordingly within the shift rotation.
In case of extended working hours, where the employee agrees to work hours extended more than 12 hours, an uninterrupted rest period of at least 23 hours is to be granted after the end of the extended shift. Working Hours Act 1969 (Last amended 2018) § 12.
Weekend Rest/ Weekly Rest
Each week employees are entitled to a rest period of 36 hours which shall include a Sunday. Weekly rest shall mean a rest period of 36 consecutive hours within any calendar week. For all employees, weekends shall start from 1 pm on Saturday and from 3 pm for employees carrying out maintenance repair work, etc. In case, where the work is performed in non-continuous shifts, weekend rest shall begin on Saturday midnight at the latest.
In companies that work in multiple shifts on weekdays, the weekend rest must begin at the latest at the end of the night shift on Sunday and may end with the start of the night shift on Monday at the earliest. In case an employee is working during any period of weekend rest, he/she is entitled to a rest period of 36 consecutive hours each calendar week in lieu of weekend rest. Such weekly rest shall include one whole weekday.
For employees working in a shift schedule, such rest periods can be reduced to 24 hours, however, an average weekly rest period of 36 hours shall be granted to such employees within a reference period of 4 weeks. However, rest periods of less than the minimum 24 hours or reference periods of more than 4 weeks can be introduced at the request of the employer along with the consent of the government authorities. Such shift schedules may be restricted to a specified period.
Substitute Rest – An employee who works during the weekly rest period is entitled to a substitute rest equivalent to the hours worked during any weekly rest period within 36 hours prior to the beginning of work in the next working week.
In case, the employee is engaged in work during the substitute rest day, the amount of substitute rest so lost shall be made up at the mutually agreed time. Such a rest period unless agreed to be taken by the employee prior to commencing the work shall be taken immediately before the beginning of any subsequent weekly rest period.
To achieve longer free time, which must be related to the weekly rest period or a rest period, the normal working hours can be regularly reduced on individual days and the normal working hours lost can be spread over the other days of the week. The normal daily working time must not exceed 9 hours. Rest period act, § 2, 4-6, Working Time Act 1969 (Last amended 2018) §12, 4.
Public holiday rest shall mean a rest period of 24 consecutive hours beginning at 00.00 a.m. of the public holiday at the earliest and at 6.00 a.m. of the public holiday at the latest.
Employees are entitled to the following 13 paid public holidays:
- Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
- Jan. 6: Epiphany
- Easter Monday
- May 1: International Workers’ Day
- Whit Monday
- Corpus Christi
- Aug. 15: Assumption Day
- Oct. 26: Austrian National Holiday
- Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day
- Dec. 8: Immaculate Conception
- Dec. 25: Christmas
- Dec. 26: St. Stephen’s Day
For members of the Protestant Church (Strictly Lutheran and Reformed), the Old Catholic and Protestant-Methodist Church, government authority has allowed “Good Friday” as a public holiday. Public holidays may only be counted towards weekly rest periods if they coincide with periods of weekly rest.
Time off in lieu – An employee who has agreed for time off in lieu for work performed on public holidays, the time off shall include at least 1 calendar day or 36 hours. Employees who work on public holidays or weekends are entitled to take time off upon request to their employer to perform their religious duties.
Eligibility – An employee is not entitled to paid public holiday if he is absent from work without reasonable excuse before or after the public holiday.
Pay – Employees who work on public holidays are entitled along with regular pay, compensation equivalent to work performed on such holidays i.e. 100 percent premium, unless time off in lieu has been agreed between the employer and employee. Rest period act, § 7 – 9.
Employees are entitled to uninterrupted paid vacation of at least 30 working days (five weeks) for each working year if the employee has been employed for less than 25 years. Employees with 25 years of service or more receive 36 working days of annual vacation (six weeks). By means of a collective agreement, a calendar year or any other annual period can be agreed as the vacation year instead of the working year.
Saturdays are considered part of a workweek for the purpose of calculating annual vacation. An employee shall be entitled to vacation after the first 6 months of employment with the same employer during the year of employment. From the second year of work, the entire vacation entitlement arises at the beginning of the year of work.
Employees whose employment contract was established in the current vacation year and who have not yet completed the waiting period at the beginning of the new vacation year receive 1/12th of the annual vacation for each month started by means of the collective agreement.
To measure the extent of vacation, periods of service with the same employer that have no longer interruptions than three months are added together.
Part-time employees receive vacation on a pro-rata basis. Years of service include employment with all employers, periods of self-employment, and some periods of higher education.
Annual vacation can be taken in 2 parts but one part shall consist of at least 6 working days.
Carry forward of leave – Unused leave can be carried over, but the leave is forfeited if not used within two years from the year in which the entitlement arose.
Annual Vacation Pay – An employee is entitled to regular wages for the total duration of annual vacation. The vacation fee shall be paid to the employee when the vacation begins.
Sickness during annual vacation – An employee who falls sick during the annual vacation for more than 3 days, such days shall not be counted in the annual vacation period.
Additional annual leave for heavy night work
In every year of work in which an employee works 50 times between 10 pm and 6 am, performs heavy work for at least 6 hours are entitled to an additional leave of 2 working days. However, such entitlement shall be increased to 4 working days, if an employee has worked for 5 years and further increased to 6 working days, for employees who have performed such work for 15 years.
Payment upon Termination of Employment
If during the period of the vacation year, the employment relationship ends, the employee is entitled to compensation at the time of termination of the employment relationship for the unused vacation corresponding to the length of service in this vacation year in relation to the entire vacation year. Holidays Act, § 2-6.
In Austria, the minimum wage is set by collective agreement rather than by law and at the industry rather than the individual enterprise level.
Depending on the length of the service, employees are entitled to paid sick leave – illness or accident due to work or otherwise with the regular wage for up to 6 weeks. Entitlement to further sick leave increases in the below manner:
- 8 weeks if the employee has been employed for 1 year without interruption.
- 10 weeks, if the employee has been employed for 15 years without interruption.
- 12 weeks if the employee has been employed for 25 years without interruption.
After the period of paid sick leave expires, the employee is entitled to a further 4 weeks on half-pay.
If an employee is prevented from performing his work due to an accident at work or an occupational disease, he is entitled to paid leave of up to 8 weeks. The entitlement to the remuneration increases to a period of 10 weeks if the employment relationship has
lasted 15 years without interruption.
Periods of service from a previous employment relationship with another employer are to be taken into account for the assessment of the duration of the entitlement if –
- the change of employer took place through the transfer of the company or part thereof in which the employee is employed.
- The total length of service completed in the previous employment relationship for the measurement of the duration of the vacation, the notice period, and the continued payment of remuneration has been agreed upon.
- The working hours do not have an interruption of more than 60 days.
To determine the duration of the entitlement, periods of service with the same employer that have no longer interruptions than 60 days are added together. Continued Remuneration Act, § 1 – 2.
Employee shall be entitled to take up to 1 working year of paid leave up to the maximum extent of his regular weekly working hours or allowed to work part-time in order to take care of sick relatives living in the same household, to care for his or her child (child of choice or foster child) or a biological child of the other spouse or partner in their absence, or for a child who is hospitalized, provided the child has not yet reached the age of 10. Holiday Act, § 16.
A pregnant employee shall not work during the eight weeks preceding the expected date of delivery and the eight weeks following childbirth, during which time the employee receives maternity pay from the social insurance system as an amount equal to average earnings which an employee received in the last 13 weeks of the employment.
In the case of premature births, multiple births, or cesarean sections, this period is at least 12 weeks. If the leave of 8 weeks before the date of delivery was shortened, then in such cases, the shortened time may be added to the leave available to the employee after the delivery of the child, but in no case, such leave shall extend a period of 16 weeks.
An employee who works for more than 4.5 hours a day is entitled to at least 45 minutes of break for breastfeeding. And when employees work for more than 8 hours in a day, they shall be entitled to two breaks of 45 minutes each. In case, the breastfeeding facility is not within the vicinity of the work premises, an employee is entitled to a breastfeeding break of 90 minutes. This break is over and above the other breaks to which the employee is entitled and is paid by the employer. Maternity Protection Act, § 2- 14.
Employees working in organizations with 20 or more employees and have been employed continuously for a period of 3 years are entitled to have their working time reduced in order to work as part-time employees until their child’s 7th birthday or until the child starts school whichever is earlier. The weekly normal work time is reduced by at least 20% and shall not fall below 12 hours. Paternity Act, Chapter 3, § 8.
Fathers will be granted 1 month’s leave for the birth of their children. This right is called the “Daddy Month” (Papa Monat).
An employee shall, at his request, be granted one month of leave in the period between the birth of his child to the end of the mother’s prohibition on employment after the birth, if he lives in the same household as the child, meaning the 8 weeks of compulsory maternity leave following the birth, or 12 weeks for a C-section, birth of multiples, or premature birth.
The employee need not complete any minimum years of service to avail paternity leave and the employer is not liable for payment during such leave. The employee receives a family time bonus of EUR 22.60 per day paid by the Austrian health insurance.
The leave starts at the earliest on the day after the child’s birth. An employee who takes paternity leave can move directly to parental leave if the mother is not able to take care of the child. Paternity Leave Act, § 14.
Employees are entitled to unpaid parental leave for children up to the age of 2. The entire time can be divided into a maximum of 3 periods between the parents, each of these periods consists of at least 2 months.
The employee must inform her employer at least 3 months in advance. But if the parental leave lasts less than three months, she must inform the employer at the latest two months before the end of the parental leave, that she is extending the parental leave and till what time. If the other parent is not entitled to parental leave, the employee can also take parental leave at a later point in time. In this case, an employee must notify her employer of the start and duration of the parental leave no later than 3 months before the start of parental leave.
Parental leave can be shared with the father twice. Each part of the employee’s parental leave must be at least two months. When the caregiver changes for the first time, the mother and the father can take parental leave for a period of one month.
The employee can agree with the employer that she postpones 3 months of her parental leave and uses it until the child is 7 years old. However, the postponed parental leave can only be taken if the parental leave, at the latest by the end of the child’s 21st month.
Parents are entitled to payment in the form of a child care allowance from Social Security. Maternity Leave Act, § 15, (15a and b).
Employees who adopt a child after the child’s second birthday but before the seventh birthday are entitled to unpaid leave for a period of 6 months at the time of adoption. Employees are entitled to the same benefits as provided to natural parents under the parental leave provisions. Paternity Leave Act, § 5.
After completing six months of service with an employer, an employee may apply for education leave, which may be granted at the employer’s discretion. The minimum period is two months, the maximum period is one year.
Last updated on: September 9th, 2021