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Working in Austria: What changes with the new 2024 employment laws?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Working in Austria: What changes with the new 2024 employment laws?
There will be new labour laws this year. Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP

Austria has new laws that aim to promote better work-life balance with changes in parental leave and care rules and more obligations for companies. Here's what you need to know.


Austria's employment framework is undergoing a comprehensive transformation to better align with the evolving demands of its workforce, according to an article by lawyer Kristina Silberbauer

In 2024, a series of noteworthy amendments were introduced to Austrian labour legislation, prioritising the enhancement of work-life balance and safeguarding employee entitlements.

Here's what you need to know.

Parental leave rules

There are a few changes this year when it comes to parental leave. As Austria aims to increase the number of fathers taking leave, the two years of parental leave will only be available in full if each parent takes at least two months - with the exception of single parents.

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This comes along with the changes from August last year, which doubled the amount fathers receive if they take their "Papamonat", one month off after a child is born.

Additionally, part-time work for parents can be taken until the child reaches the age of eight (instead of seven). Still, the maximum duration of part-time work remains seven years - to incentivise parents to take a longer time off.


Changes in care regulation

Care leave (the licence period a worker can take to care for others) is also changing. Before, the entitlement to leave for necessary care was limited to sick close relatives living in the same household. Now, workers can ask for leave to care for a close relative who does not live with them or a roommate.

The Equal Treatment Act also determines that there can be no discrimination against workers who fulfil family obligations, such as taking parental leave, care leave or absence from work for specific urgent family reasons. 

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New obligations for companies

Companies will have to provide written explanations for certain labour decisions. For example, if they refuse to allow parents to take part-time or parental leave, the justification needs to be done in writing without request. 

A worker who was fired from the job can also request a written justification from the company. The employee has five calendar days from the date of dismissal to request the reasons in writing and the company must comply also within five calendar days. 

Vienna-based lawyer Kristina Silberbauer wrote, "The legal significance of this process is limited". 

"It is merely intended to make it easier for those affected to assess whether they can successfully take legal action against their dismissal. However, the terminated party retains the right to contest the termination, even if no reasons were requested. The termination also remains effective if no reasons are given", she explained. 

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Changes in partial retirement

The lawyer also stated that 2024 brings new rules to "partial retirement", making the system more flexible. As before, working hours must be reduced to between 40 and 60 percent of previous working hours.

However, the range does not need to be adhered to strictly every week but may fluctuate as long as the average stays within that range over the entire partial retirement period. Additionally, working hours must average between 20 and 80 percent over a six-month period.

This means workers can go on partial retirement and have very low work hours combined with more intensive phases with a heavier work schedule.


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