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Global employment briefing: Austria, October 2018

  • Austria
  • Employment law


New flexibility introduced by changes to working time regulations

On September 1st 2018 new regulations on working time came into force. Their principle aim is to make working time more flexible by increasing the daily maximum working hours from 10 to 12 and the weekly maximum working hours from 50 to 60 whilst conforming in principle to the well-known and established 8 hours regular working time per day and 40 hours per week.

The type of employees that are exempt from the working time regulations (currently, executive employees are exempt) have also been extended. They now include employees that have been granted independent decision-making authority or employees who are close relatives of the employer (e.g. parents, children, spouse), providing working time is not to be recorded or determined upfront and can be determined by the employee.

Collective bargaining agreements allow the transfer of overtime from one calculation period (Durchrechnungszeitraum) to another. It has now been made clear that it is possible to transfer negative and positive balances several times.

Should flexible working hours have been agreed (Gleitzeit), daily working hours can now also be up to 12 and if the agreement allows the employee to utilise a positive overtime balance on full days, then employees are allowed to take either a Friday or a Monday off to have a longer weekend (hence allowing a 4-day week). Increasing working time in such an arrangement is only possible if initiated by, or in the interest of, the employee.

Should working time exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per weeks on the direction of the employer, such hours are regarded as overtime and are subject to overtime payments.

Overtime (11th and 12th hours) are subject to overtime payments set by the law, if not otherwise regulated by a collective bargaining agreement. The maximum of 5 hours over-time per week and 60 hours per year has been replaced by a maximum of 20 hours per week.

It is now possible for employees to refuse overtime work without giving any reason if 10 hours per day or 50 hours per week are exceeded. If they refuse, discriminatory treatment is expressly forbidden.

Employees are free to choose if they want to receive an overtime payment or compen-satory time off (to be used within 6 months) for any hours worked in excess of 10 hours per day or 60 hours per week.