Work and Wages

Minimum Wage

There is no statutory minimum wage in Austria as such since minimum wage is set by the collective agreements. The social partners in Austria (Trade Union Federation & Chambers of Commerce) signed an agreement in 2007 which stipulates that a minimum wage of €1,000 must be implemented in all collective agreements (applicable from January 2009). The amount of minimum wage in an agreement depends on the classification of work and length of employment of a worker (seniority).

As provided under the Collective Labour Relations Act, a minimum wage rate may be determined by a specialized body, i.e., the Federal Arbitration Board, for group of workers for whom a collective agreement cannot be agreed because nobody capable of negotiating a collective agreement exists on the side of the employer, and if an arrangement about minimum salaries and minimum amounts for compensating expenses has not been achieved by declaring a collective agreement statutory.

The Federal Arbitration Board is a permanent tripartite body affiliated with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. It may issue extension orders, making collective agreements applicable to sectors of the same nature which have not signed an agreement, at the written request of an employers’ or workers’ organisation provided that the collective agreement has prevailing importance in the relevant field of industrial relations, the working conditions in the extension order must be essentially the same as those in the collective agreement; and the working conditions covered in the extension must not be governed by another collective agreement.

If a trade union capable of negotiating collective agreements requests it, the Federal Arbitration Office must set a minimum wage rate after consulting the heads of provincial governments that will fall within the spatial scope. The Federal Arbitration Office fixes minimum wage for janitors, household help/domestic workers, private education, social services, home help and geriatric care, au-pair service and private child care.

(www.sozialministerium.at/site/Arbeit/Bundeseinigungsamt/Mindestlohntarife/).

Even the statutory minimum wages fixed by the Federal Arbitration Office differs for each sector and there are also differences in minimum wage for different types of work within a sector. The minimum wage rate for social service workers used to distinguish seven different occupational groups under notification by Federal Arbitration Board. However, since 2007, the BAGS collective agreement covers the social service workers. The statutory minimum wages for different sectors are determined under sectoral agreements. Minimum wages may be determined for the whole country or only for specific regions. The minimum wage rates set by Federal Arbitration Office for janitors and domestic workers vary for each region while in the other sector, similar rates prevail. The collective agreements can also require a nationwide or a region-specific application. Specific statutory minimum wage rates may be set for trainees in specific sectors. Collective agreements may foresee specific rates for trainees.

Workers are entitled to the minimum wage specified under the law, internal enterprise regulations or collective agreement. Any breach of the above referred minimum wage payable under law, regulation or collective agreement may result in administrative penalties. Depending on the number of employees concerned, and depending on repetition of the administrative offense, the fine ranges from €1,000 to €50,000.

Sources: §12(1), 18 & 22-26 of Collective Labour Relations Act (Official Gazette No. 22/1974); Grundsatzvereinbarung zum Mindestlohn von 1.000 Euro, 2007 (applicable from 01 January, 2009); Minimum Wage rates for Social Services M 5/2005/XXII/96/3; Kollektivvertrag der Sozialwirtschaft Österreich 2014; §3 of the Act on the Combating of Wage and Social Dumping, 2016

Regular Pay

Mandatory labor law provides that employees' salaries have to be paid at the latest on the last day of each calendar month. It is, however, permissible to agree to an earlier due date. The salary of blue-collar workers generally is due weekly. However, the due date can be subject to individual agreement between the employer and the blue-collar worker.

 Under the Salaried Employees/White-Collar Workers Act (section 15), wages can be paid twice a month on the 15th and last day of the month. Payment at the end of month can also be arranged. The Anti-Wage and Social Dumping Act contains penalties for if minimum wages and salaries fall short and if documents relating to employment contracts are not available in German. A fine penalty of €1,000 to €10,000 is issued for every underpaid employee; €2,000 to €20,000 if more than three workers are underpaid; and €4,000 to €50,000 in cases of recurrence with more than three employees involved.

Certain Amendments have been made to the Act against Wage and Social Dumping (Lohn- und Sozialdumpingbekämpfungsgesetz – LSDB-G) by virtue of the act to adapt contractual employment law (Arbeitsvertragsrechtsanpassungsgesetz-Avrag) The fines which were imposed on the employers for underpayment or wage dumping were higher than the fine that was imposed where they did not keep documents relating to employment contracts, thereby resulting in non-compliant employers not keeping proof of the documents. This has been amended now and both the fines have been equated. (Section 7i (4)). The period of limitation provided by statute under which workers are to make claims of underpayment has been extended from one year to three years, starting at the time of payment for each respective salary; the statutory period of limitation for administrative authorities to impose fines is five years (section 7i (7)). Employers who have previously underpaid their employees will go unpunished if they pay them the full amount due before any investigation begins (Section 7i (5)). No fines are imposed if the underpayment is minor and not due to the gross negligence of the employer provided that the full amount due has been paid by them to the workers. (Section 7i (6)). Secondly, In addition to fines, Authorities can prohibit companies from providing their services for a given time. Such prohibition can last a maximum of five years and can be increasingly imposed in cases where a company has been repeatedly fined for underpayment or failing to keep documents. (Section 7i (2), (2a) and (4)).  The issuance of such a prohibition by the authorities can be avoided if a company can show that the necessary steps have been undertaken to avoid the commission of further offences after paying the earlier fines. ((section 7i (2)). Thirdly, the authorities can also require financial securities from the company during the course of investigation, if they have reasonable suspicion that offences have been committed and have reason to believe that the employer will hamper investigations (section 7l). Where temporary agencies are involved, the authorities might require the user of those agencies to pay the outstanding wages due to the agency to them instead as a financial security. (Section 7m (3)).Lastly, the law requires the employer to provide information for each posted worker through electronic means to the authorities. The information must include details of the employer’s type of business, the agreed working hours of the posted employee, and the location of the workplace. In the event such information is not provided, fines are imposed for each employee, not per employer (section 7b (3) and (4)).

Sources: Anti-Wage and Social Dumping Act 2011; §15 of White-Collar Employees Act (Official Gazette No. 292/1921); Employment Contract Law – AVRAG (official gazette No.459/1993, last amended in 2016)

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Gesetz zu kollektivvertraglichen Regelungen (Amtsblatt Nr. 22/1974, 71/2013, letzte Ergänzung 71/2013) / Collective Labour Relations Act (Official Gazette No. 22/1974, last amended by 71/2013)
  • Gesetz zur Vereinheitlichung des Arbeitsvertragsrechts (Amtsblatt Nr. 459/1993, letzte Ergänzung 138/2013) / Employment Contract Law Harmonization Act (Official Gazette No. 459/1993, last amended by 138/2013)
  • Grundsatzvereinbarung zu Mindestlöhnen von 1.000 Euro, 2007 / General Agreement on a Minimum Wage of 1,000 Euro, 2007
  • Kollektivvertrag der Sozialwirtschaft Österreich 2014
  • Mindestlöhne für Sozialdienste M 5/2005/XXII/96/3 / Minimum Wage rates for Social Services M 5/2005/XXII/96/3
  • Angestelltengesetz (Amtsblatt Nr. 292/1921, letzte Ergänzung 58/2010) / White-Collar Employees Act (Official Gazette No. 292/1921, last amended by 58/2010)

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