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Austria | KWR

Employment Law Overview Austria
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02. Employment Contracts

Minimum requirements

Every employer is obliged to provide the employee with a written record of the essential rights and obligations arising from the employment relationship immediately after the beginning of the employment relationship if the employment relationship will last more than one month. This record must contain the following information:

  • Name and address of the employer;
  • Name and address of the employee;
  • Commencement of the employment relationship;
  • In the case of employment for a definite period: the end of the employment relationship;
  • Duration of the period of notice, termination date;
  • Usual place of work, reference to changing places of work;
  • Applicable classification in a general scheme (classification CBA);
  • Intended use (description of the activity);
  • Amount of the basic salary or wage, other remuneration components such as e.g. special payments, due date of remuneration;
  • Amount of annual leave;
  • Agreed daily or weekly normal working hours;
  • Applicable CBA and reference to the room in the enterprise where it is available for inspection;
  • Name and address of the occupational pension fund.

While such written records are used in some areas, an employment contract containing additional clauses negotiated and signed by both employer and employee is more common and usual practice.

The official language in Austria is German. Employment contracts should therefore be in German or least in a bilingual version with German being the prevailing language.

Fixed-term/Open-ended Contracts

Both fixed-term and open-ended/unlimited employment contracts are possible and common in Austria.

In Austria, there is no statutory maximum fixed term period. However, in the case of fixed-term contracts of more than 5 years, there is a special provision regarding termination. Fixed-term employment relationships end at the end of their term. A possibility of termination during the fixed term must be explicitly agreed between the employer and the employee and is subject to restrictions. The premature termination of a fixed-term contract is still possible for good cause or by mutual consent. A contract is deemed to have been concluded for an indefinite period if the activity is continued beyond the end of the fixed term.

There is no statutory period when the employees need to be made permanent, however there is the so-called “chain contract ban”. Fixed-term employment contracts may not be concluded several times in succession without (strong) objective reasons.

Objective reasons for justification can be e.g. seasonal contracts, maternity leave or the express wish of the employee.

There are special rules for pregnant employees under fixed term contracts.

Trial Period

A trial period in the sense that each party can terminate at any time can be agreed for a maximum duration of 1 month (“trial month”). The employment relationship can be terminated at any time during the trial month. After the trial month, a one-time fixed-term contract of 1-5 months is common before the contract is for an unlimited period of time.

Notice Period

The notice periods are based on the length of service of the employee, unless the CBA provides otherwise (contractually longer periods are possible for employers). The period between the notice of termination and the last day of the employment relationship must correspond to the statutory notice period.

Termination periods to be observed by the employer:

  • in the 1st and 2nd year of service:                  6 weeks
  • from the 3rd year of service:                           2 months
  • from the 6th year of service:                           3 months
  • from the 16th year of service:                         4 months
  • from the 26th year of service:                         5 months

Termination periods to be observed by the employee:

  • 1-month notice period
  • may be contractually extended up to 6 months
  • the employer’s notice period must not be shorter than the employee’s notice period.

Deviating provisions can be agreed within the legal limits, e.g. equally long periods for the employer and the employee.

The termination date is the date on which the employment relationship ends. As a rule, only the end of a calendar quarter is available to the employer as a termination date (so-called “quarterly termination”). For the employee, the termination date usually is the end of the calendar month. The 15th and/or the end of the calendar month may be agreed as the termination date unless a CBA provides more favourable rules for the employee.

Any questions

Ask our member firm KWR in Austria