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Coronavirus - Implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreement for COVID-19 tests - Austria

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Implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on employment law and operational measures for COVID-19 tests 

The general “Collective Bargaining Agreement“ (CBA) for COVID-19 tests was implemented on January 25, 2021, and is valid until August 31, 2021. General CBA's are concluded between the Austrian Trade Union Federation and the Chamber of Commerce Austria for all employees of all branches for which the Chamber of Commerce Austria has the capacity to negotiate and conclude CBA'S.

Main topics of the general CBA include absence from work due to SARS-COV-2 testing, anti-discrimination measures due to such absence as well as a regulation for the relief of employees who have to wear a mask during professional activities.

If, due to § 1 (5c) COVID-19-Maßnahmengesetz (COVID-19 Measures Act), employees are obliged to provide a negative test result in order to enter their workplace, the employer is obliged to release the employee from their duties for the testing with continued payment of remuneration. This also includes travel to and from the test site. The general CBA however states that the test should be done either on the way home or to the place of work. The choice of the test date should be made and mutually agreed on, taking care not to disrupt the work schedule. Permissible rapid tests may expressly be used as an alternative.

This exemption does not apply to employees on short-time work (Kurzarbeit). Employees who do not have a negative test to enter the workplace, must do the testing outside working hours.

Employees with a positive test result may according to the general CBA not be dismissed, terminated or discriminated in any other way. Existing regulations shall not be affected by this general CBA if they are more favourable for the employees.

If employees are required by law or regulation to wear a mask during work, 10-minute breaks are foreseen by the general CBA during which they do not have to wear a mask every three hours.