Last updated on: September 5th, 2023
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
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.
Sick Leave Certificate – Employees are obligated to notify their employer immediately (without undue delay) of their inability to work in the event of sickness. This can be requested from the first day of incapacity for work, but most employers require the certificate from the 4th day of illness as best practice. 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.
Deferred (Postponed) Parental Leave – The employee can agree with the employer that the employee will postpone 3 months of her parental leave and use it until the child reaches the age of 7 unless otherwise specified below. The requirements of the company and the reason for the use must be taken into account. However, postponed parental leave can only be taken if the parental leave according to §§ 15 or 15a (duration of 2 months) has expired at the latest –
- at the end of the child’s 21st month of life,
- if the father also takes deferred parental leave, at the end of the child’s 18th month of life has ended.
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.