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

Find out all the latest information related to working in Austria with The Local’s weekly roundup of job news.

A cup of coffee sits next to a pad and a laptop on a wooden desk. Isn't it nice? Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash
Looking for a job in Austria? Here's what you need to know. Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Already working in Austria, looking for a new job or thinking about moving to Austria? Here’s what you need to know about the job market.

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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JOBS

EXPLAINED: How to find a summer job in Austria?

Though Austria is mainly known for its winter resorts, there is no shortage of possibilities for those looking for seasonal jobs in summer.

EXPLAINED: How to find a summer job in Austria?

Summer is coming up, and those few hot months are a perfect opportunity for many people to get a seasonal job and earn some extra cash.

Austria’s economy is heavily based on tourism. But even though the winter resorts and sports are what the alpine country is most well-known for, the summer months are also hectic in the tourism and gastronomy sectors.

The demand for seasonal workers usually is high but has increased even more in the last few years. According to the Austrian employment agency AMS, there are more than 15,000 open positions in gastronomy and tourism still lacking workers.

The pandemic widened the gap, as the sector was hardly hit by lockdowns and changes in consumer behaviour. With coronavirus restrictions, the field lost some of its attraction. It is still having trouble finding new labour, AMS boss Johannes Kopf told broadcaster ORF.

A summer without coronavirus restrictions

However, for the first time since the pandemic started, Austria will see a summer with almost no coronavirus restrictions.

The country has recently dropped its 3G rule for entry for travellers, meaning that tourists (and residents) no longer have to show proof that they were vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or tested negative.

The expectation is high that this will boost tourism, especially as the 3G rules and the mask mandate also fell in most indoor areas.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules?

Last year, even with some restrictions still in place, the sector saw a recovery compared to 2020 but was still not at pre-pandemic levels, according to Statistik Austria.

Still, the May to October season had more than 66 million overnight stays, with almost half of them (42.7 per cent) coming from Germany.

From imperial cities to lakes and mountains, Austria has no shortage of offers during summer. As travelling resumes, the sector is desperately looking for workers.

vienna, pratter

Vienna is big touristic destination also during summer months (Photo by Anton on Unsplash)

Where can I find summer jobs in Austria?

The capital is undoubtedly where most visitors come, according to Statistik Austria. However, it is also where many establishments have a year-round crew, and seasonal work might not be as easy to find.

It is far from impossible, though, and it is worth the search if you have your eyes set on Vienna.

READ ALSO: One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

However, other major Austrian cities also have openings, most notably the touristic towns of and around Innsbruck and Salzburg. Of course, the mountainous region of Austria might be most famous for its ski slopes. Still, they also offer breathtaking summer views, cool and beautiful alpine lakes, and numerous hiking trails.

Plus excellent hotels for people to stay in and great Austrian restaurants – all looking for employees.

What types of jobs are available?

There are many job openings to skim through, but most will be the most traditional service work in tourism and gastronomy: waitressing, housekeeping, cooking, and reception.

If you look outside of Vienna, several professions in the tourism and gastronomy sector are included in Austria’s list of shortage occupations.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Those include some surprising ones like department store sales clerks, waiters and waitresses, masseuses, and others. If you don’t have a right to work in Austria (non-EU citizens without a work permit, for example), being skilled in a shortage occupation makes it easier to be hired and get a residence permit.

Most of these jobs will require a certain level of German, especially since Germans are an overwhelming part of tourists entering Austria. However, the high demand for workers might help those who do not speak the language yet, especially for positions that don’t require much customer interaction.

READ ALSO: Austria: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

Another popular job for summer is instructor, or caretaker, in summer camps. As many of them are bilingual or in English, German is not usually a mandatory language – there are also positions for English teachers, especially in camps and schools with summer courses.

Where can I find these jobs?

As with most industries and professions, searching online is usually the first step in finding a summer job in Austria.

Outside of known employment platforms such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, Austria’s Karriere.at might be a good place to look.

READ ALSO: Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Austria

Hogastjob is also a local platform with plenty of seasonal offers in Austria, Germany and Italy (South Tyrol region).

Another approach is to contact resorts or hotels directly to find out when they are hiring for the summer season and the types of roles that will be available – they should also have a job vacancies page on official websites that you can check.

Or get in touch with friends that have previously worked in the summer season in Austria and ask for a recommendation.

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