Working in Austria: Longer notice periods for workers come into force

Working in Austria: Longer notice periods for workers come into force
Looking for a job in Austria? Here's what you need to know. Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
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Longer notice periods for workers

From October 1st, there will be very little difference in notice periods between blue-collar and white-collar workers in Austria when the Legal Equality Act from 2017 will be implemented.

The Act was planned to be introduced at the start of 2021 but was delayed due to Covid-19 and the impacts on the economy.

Up until now, blue-collar workers in industries like hospitality, trade and craft could be dismissed with just two weeks’ notice.

FOR MEMBERS: Everything you need to know about health insurance for freelancers in Austria

Instead, from Friday, a statutory notice period of six weeks will apply to workers in the first and second year of employment.

From the third year the notice period will increase to two months, and from the sixth year it will be three months.

After 16 years of service, the notice period will be four months, followed by five months after 26 years.

It is estimated that 600,000 workers will benefit from the new rules, with most employed in the hotel and catering industry.

However, there are exceptions in some seasonal roles where the 14-day notice period will still apply.

The notice period for temporary workers will increase from two weeks to three weeks in 2023.

More unemployed people in Austria access training courses

The number of unemployed people in training programmes in Austria has increased by 1,186 since last week. The total number of people in training is now 68,216.

Training courses are being offered to unemployed people to ensure their skills are up to date and suitable for the modern job market.

It is expected that 100,000 people will have taken advantage of the scheme by 2022. So far, 60,000 people have received training and 30,000 people have since found a job.

Unemployed people in Austria can access financial support for attending professional courses via Public Employment Service Austria (AMS).

Wage negotiations start for Austria’s metal workers

On Wednesday, wage negotiations started between employers and trade union representatives of metal workers in Austria.

Metal workers are demanding a 4.5 percent pay rise – an amount that was requested in 2019 but instead was negotiated down to a raise of between 2.6 and 2.8 percent.

Last year, workers in the industry received a pay rise of just 1.45 percent. According to the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (Wifo), this has resulted in real wage losses in 2021 due to inflation.

Rainer Wimmer from the Pro-Ge union recently highlighted “horrific inflation” as a valid reason for a significant wage increase. 

However, Gabriel Felbermayr from Wifo said he does not think metal workers will receive a 4.5 percent rise in wages.

Negotiations will continue on October 11th. 

Austria’s Labour Minister looks to Sweden to tackle unemployment

Last week, Austria’s Labor Minister Martin Kocher was in Sweden to find out how the Nordic country deals with unemployment.

Sweden is known for a high employment rate and quickly places unemployed people in new roles, resulting in low levels of long-term unemployment.

READ MORE: Unemployment benefits in Austria: Who is eligible and how much can you get?

Kocher was reportedly inspired by the focus on the individual in Sweden, where there is a system of protecting people, not the workplace.

Additionally, Kocher is keen to combat the risk of poverty that comes with unemployment and to provide protection for people that have difficulty in finding a job.

Next week, Kocher will visit Lithuania for a similar trip.

3-G in the workplace?

Discussions are continuing about the possibility of 3-G Covid-19 rules (vaccinated, recovered or negative test) for the workplace in Austria.

Those in favour of the measure cite Italy as an example, where all workplaces (public and private) will have to comply with the measure from Friday, October 1st.

Der Standard reports that the Ministry of Health is coordinating with the Ministry of Labor on the issue, but it is not known when a decision will be made.

Ex-Health Minister Rudolf Anschober recently said he would support the implementation of 3-G in the workplace after seeing how vaccination rates have increased in Italy.

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