The employees in Austria enjoy one of the shortest working hours in Europe. If you are having troubles with work-life balance in the country where you are currently working Austria might be a perfect solution for you. This article shows the difference between working and “non-working hours” and explains what are normal working hours, part-time work, overtime and other important things when it comes to the working time in Austria.
In the case of working time, there is the distinction between working time and “non-working time”.
Working hours include:
- Weekly working hours
- Daily working hours
- Willingness to work: The employee must be available at any time at a position specified by the employer.
“Non-working hours” are:
- Travel times
- Rest breaks (are generally unpaid)
- Travel times (only limited)
- On-call duty (only conditional): Employees do not have to be available at a specific location.
Normal working hours
The normal working time for full-time employees is 40 hours. Part-time workers work fewer hours. Converted to the number of hours worked, employee is getting the same pay as full-time employees. Normal working hours can be exceeded due to overtime. 12 hours per day, 60 hours per week can be employed.
Employees must comply with working hours, rest breaks and daily rest periods. There are special regulations for night work and for drivers.
The normal working hours are 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. This is pure working time without breaks. If the normal daily or weekly working hours are exceeded, the employee generally works overtime. In some cases, up to 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week may be worked – permanently on a four-month average but not more than 48 hours per week.
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Short-time work is the temporary reduction in normal working hours combined with a reduction in pay due to economic difficulties. It is regularly linked to the receipt of short-time working allowance and requires a social partner agreement. Also, the Public Employment Service can grant a qualification allowance and allowance for training costs.
Obligation to record working hours
The employer is obliged to keep records of the hours worked by the employees. In the case of flexitime, field service and teleworking (working from home), an agreement can be made with the employee to keep time records himself.
The recording obligation applies to all companies, regardless of the size of the company or the number of employees in the company. The Labor Inspectorate reviews the records and penalizes employers for violations.
Part-time employees have less normal working hours than full-time employees. The amount of the remuneration is based on the proportionate collective agreement receipt of full-time employees.
Employers can – under certain circumstances – order overtime. Overtime is work that goes beyond the agreed extent of normal weekly working hours, but is not yet overtime work. Whether the overtime is paid for as time compensation or in cash depends on the agreement in the employment contract.
To look after or care for relatives, the normal weekly working hours can be reduced under certain conditions by using part-time care. The beginning, duration, location and extent of part-time employment must be agreed in writing between the employer and the employee.
Flexible Working Time
Flexible working time means that it is possible, within the time frame agreed upon, to decide the beginning and the end of the daily regular working hours by oneself. During a certain “core time”, the employee’s presence is obligatory. The flexible working time must be regulated by a company agreement or a flexible working time agreement.
Working hours that exceed normal daily or weekly working hours are generally considered to be overtime. They are allowed if there is an increased need for work – however, the employee has a right of refusal. An obligation to work overtime can result from the employment contract, a works agreement and the collective agreement. Overtime must be remunerated with an additional bonus of 50% in money or time balance in case you don’t have all-in contract.
If a tenth hour is worked per day, this is generally to be paid as overtime (with the exception of special provisions in collective agreements). This is all the more true if you should work up to 12 hours. The maximum daily working time is 12 hours per day and the maximum weekly working time is 60 hours.
Employees who work more than 6 hours a day must take a half-hour break. The 30-minute rest break can be split or shortened under certain circumstances. The labor inspectorate can order additional or longer breaks for company departments or certain work.
Daily rest and holidays
The daily rest period begins after work and lasts until the next start of work. It must be at least eleven hours. Collective agreements can shorten the uninterrupted rest period to 8 hours. There are specific rules for the hotel and hospitality industry.
There is an uninterrupted rest period of at least 24 hours on public holidays. December 24th and 31.12. are not considered holidays. On four weekends and public holidays, an exception to the weekend and public holiday rest can be agreed. This does not apply to sales activities under the Opening Hours Act.
Full-time employees receive the remuneration (holiday remuneration) even for public holidays, despite the fact that they have lost their work. If the public holiday falls on an employee’s day off – for example for part-time employees – no remuneration has to be paid.
Anyone who is actually employed on a public holiday receives, in addition to the monthly wage, compensation for each hour they work on the public holiday at the normal hourly rate, i.e. the holiday wage. If the employee works more than the normal working hours for that weekday, this is overtime work.
When the employee travels on behalf of the employer to work elsewhere, this is called travel time. A distinction is made between active and passive travel time.
Night work and heavy night work
Night workers must work at least three hours between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. regularly or on at least 48 nights a year. You are entitled to additional rest periods.
Heavy night work involves working, among other things, at night in stressful heat, in accessible cold rooms, noise, vibrations or at computer workstations. For heavy night work, there are obligations to report to the health insurance company, heavy night work contribution, special pension, additional vacation and additional breaks.
Working time for drivers
For drivers of motor vehicles, separate working time regulations apply, which take into account driving time, driving break and working time. For drivers of regulation vehicles, different regulations apply to working hours and rest periods than for drivers of other vehicles. The maximum daily working time may exceed 12 hours. In certain cases a driving log must be kept.
Author: Sofia Ivanov is a blogger at AustrianCareer.at. She holds a MA in international business and also contributes photography to AustrianCareer.at.