Littler Global Guide - Austria - Q2 2022

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

View all Q2 2022 Global Guide Quarterly updates   Download full Q2 2022 Global Guide Quarterly

The Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) Acknowledges Overtime Work Even During Short-Time Work

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Markus Löscher, Partner – Gerlach Löscher | Littler

In Austria, the daily (and weekly) normal working time is set by law or collective agreement. If working hours exceed these hours, this generally constitutes overtime that is subject to a surcharge. For a long time, it was questionable how to proceed in the case of COVID-related short-time work. The Supreme Court has now answered this question: Overtime resulting from exceeding the daily normal working hours permitted under the collective agreement must be paid separately, even during periods for which COVID-related short-time work has been agreed.

The Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) Rules on Notice Periods for Blue-Collar Workers

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Michaela Gerlach, Partner – Gerlach Löscher | Littler

In the past, different notice periods applied to blue-collar and white-collar workers in Austria. As of October 1, 2021, the notice periods applicable to blue-collar workers were harmonized with those applicable to white-collar workers (in principle six weeks for employer's notice). However, the provision allows for deviating regulations to be made by collective agreement “for sectors in which seasonal operation predominates.” In its most recent ruling, the Supreme Court has now stated that seasonal operation does not predominate in the hotel and catering/hospitality industry. Blue-collar workers in this sector are therefore subject to the (longer) notice periods of white-collar workers.

The Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) Clarifies Question on (Paid) Working Time

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Jakob Zöchling, Associate – Gerlach Löscher | Littler

Austrian case law on the question of which activities already count (or no longer count) as paid working time is complex and very case-specific. This applies in particular to the question of how changing times are to be assessed. The Supreme Court has now once again clarified some details: If there is an obligation to wear work clothing and if this clothing cannot/may not be taken home, changing times are to be considered working time. On the other hand, the time that the employee needs to take a voluntary shower after work, i.e., not ordered by the employer and not required, for example, for hygienic reasons, does not count as working time.

The Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) Specifies Ruling of the ECJ Regarding Annual Leave Payment

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Author: Paul Moosmann, Associate – Gerlach Löscher | Littler

As part of the January update, we already reported that the ECJ has ruled that employees are also entitled to monetary compensation for unused annual leave if they terminate their employment without good cause and without observing the notice periods. The Supreme Court has now stated in concrete terms that, in its view, this only has an impact on the minimum leave of four weeks guaranteed under EU law - a domestic leave entitlement exceeding this is not covered by the ruling according to the OGH. It remains to be seen what the ECJ's position on this will be.

National Draft Law on the “Whistleblower Directive” Presented

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Author: Armin Popp, Senior Associate – Gerlach Löscher | Littler

On October 23, 2019, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the “Whistleblower Directive” to protect individuals who report breaches of EU law. This protection is addressed in particular to employees who want to report violations by their employers. This directive would have had to be transposed into national law by the end of 2021. On June 3, 2022, the Austrian Federal Government presented a draft law, which is now being evaluated for six weeks. This draft exceeds the requirements of the “Whistleblower Directive”, for example by providing for an extension to violations of national law (e.g., corruption and public procurement law). The new law could be passed in September 2022. Companies are therefore well advised to already assess to what extent they could be affected by this law.

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.