Littler Global Guide - Austria - Q4 2021

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Implementation of the “3G” Requirement at the Workplace, Effective November 1, 2021

New Order or Decree

Author: Markus Löscher, Partner – Gerlach | Littler

The “3G Rule,” which entered into effect on November 1, 2021, requires all employees who have contact with other people to be vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19, or have been tested to be allowed to access the workplace. Exceptions apply only if the occupational activity requires no or very little contact with other people, such as lorry drivers or people who work from home. Compliance with this regulation must be monitored by the employer through random checks. If workers do not comply with the “3G Rule,” they are not allowed to enter the company premises and lose their wage entitlement for that period. In case of noncompliance, administrative fines of up to 500 euros may be imposed on workers and up to 3,600 euros on employers.

Supreme Court: Use of Short-Time Work Does Not Lead to Individual Protection Against Dismissal

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Michaela Gerlach, Partner – Gerlach | Littler

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a form of short-time work with strong financial support from the government has been introduced in Austria. The Supreme Court of Justice (Oberster Gerichtshof) has now ruled that labor market policy objectives are the decisive reasons behind the implementation and that there is no individual protection against dismissal for individual workers if the employer has agreed to short-time work with them. For employers this means that dismissals made during the short-time work period (or the subsequent retention period) are legally valid and can only be contested by means of an action for annulment on the grounds of unlawful motives or that it violates principles of social considerations.

ECJ: Annual Leave Payment Is Due Even In Unjustified Early Resignation

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Paul Moosmann, Associate – Gerlach | Littler

On November 25, 2021, the European Court of Justice ruled that employees – contrary to the previous Austrian legal situation – are entitled to monetary compensation for unused annual leave if they terminate their employment without good cause and without observing the notice periods. This ruling is to be seen as a mandate to the legislature but must already be observed by Austrian courts. Employers must be prepared for additional claims if the resignation does not date back more than three years. It is advisable to review the collective bargaining agreement and employment contract, as these often provide for shorter expiry periods.

Proposed Law Would Impose Mandatory Vaccination for the General Public

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Author: Markus Löscher, Partner – Gerlach | Littler

A proposal currently under review seeks to make vaccination compulsory as of February 2022, which would make Austria the first country in Europe to pass such mandate. Not many details are known, but what is clear is that the mandatory vaccination will not be enforced by compulsory physical intervention but by means of administrative fines and that there will be exceptions for particularly vulnerable population groups. The constitutionality of this proposed law is still disputed even among leading legal scholars and practitioners.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.