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Advertising What are the requirements relating to advertising positions? Job ads must state the minimum wage under the collective bargaining agreement applicable to the position and indicate that the future employer is prepared to pay above the minimum wage (if accurate).

Ads cannot be discriminatory.

Background checks What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:

(a) Criminal records? No express statutory restrictions prohibit employers or third parties from performing background checks. However, testimonials cannot contain details that might hamper an employee’s job prospects. This prohibition indirectly affects this process, as former employers cannot provide negative information to prospective employers. It is common for job applicants to provide employers with a criminal record certificate (certificate of good standing). Further, human resources reports often provide insightful background information on applicants.

Employers commonly request a criminal record certificate from job applicants. These certificates do not show criminal convictions that have already been expunged from the official database. Convictions for minor offences (ie, jail terms of no more than three months or equivalent) are also not shown in the certificate.

Job applicants need not answer truthfully with respect to previous convictions, unless the conviction has not yet been expunged from the criminal record and concerns a criminal offence that could raise reasonable doubts regarding the applicant’s capacity to perform his or her job without adversely affecting the employer’s legitimate interests (eg, where a sexual offender applies for a teaching job or a fraudster applies for a job as a bank teller).

(b) Medical history? Certain regulations require that job applicants provide employers with their medical history (eg, airline staff). Otherwise, job applicants generally need not disclose their medical history, unless an illness or injury would result in a permanent incapacity to work. During periods of sick leave, employers can request a certificate from a medical doctor regarding the employee’s incapacity to work; however, these certificates cannot include the employee’s diagnosis.

No statutory restrictions prohibit employers from requiring a medical examination as a condition of employment. Although uncommon in Austria, an employer can theoretically refuse to hire an applicant who refuses to submit to a medical examination, unless this is tantamount to discrimination under the Equal Protection Act.

(c) Drug screening? No specific restrictions exist. Employers can refuse to hire an applicant who does not submit to an examination. Certain positions (eg, airline staff, train drivers and certain medical positions) require mandatory drug testing.

(d) Credit checks? Depending on the circumstances, employers can perform credit checks or request that job applicants answer truthfully regarding their financial situation. Ongoing insolvency proceedings in relation to an employee or wage and salary seizures can have a negative impact on an employer’s reputation. In addition, positions that involve the diligent handling of finances (eg, managerial positions at banks and insurers) can give rise to an employer’s legitimate right to enquire about a job applicant’s financial situation.

(e) Immigration status? In accordance with Austria’s immigration legislation, prospective employers cannot employ applicants without residence and work permits. Therefore, checks on the immigration status of job applicants and employees are legitimate.

(f) Social media? Employer monitoring of job applicants’ social media presence is a widely used and lawful tool to verify statements made in applications and learn more about applicants’ personalities.

(g) Other? Questions regarding military service or mandatory civil service must be answered truthfully.

Job applicants can refuse to answer (or answer incorrectly) any questions pertaining to pregnancy and their desire to have children. 

Wages and working time

Pay Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it? Minimum wages are typically set by collective bargaining agreements and depend on:

  • the classification of the position, based on qualifying criteria within the relevant collective bargaining agreement; and
  • the employee’s length of previous employment.

Collective bargaining agreements apply to foreign employees working in Austria. However, no national minimum wage exists, with some exceptions (eg, the minimum wage for apprentices); as such, salary and wages in certain sectors can be negotiated freely. Most employees are covered under applicable bargaining agreements and benefit from the minimum wages set out therein. 

Are there restrictions on working hours? Under the Working Time Act, the regular maximum working hours are 40 hours per week and eight hours per day. Overtime must not result in working time of more than 10 hours per day or 50 hours per week. The act allows those limits to be increased to 13 hours per day and 60 hours per week if specific working time models apply (eg, models including standby time). With effect from January 1 2016 the maximum daily working time can also be increased from 10 to 12 hours in case of increased travel times.

Hours and overtime What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks? Under the Working Time Act, a meal and rest break of at least 30 minutes must be granted after at least six hours of work. Meal and rest breaks do not count as working time. Breaks must be at a time either elected by the employee or foreseeable to him or her.

How should overtime be calculated? Employees working overtime are entitled to overtime pay, unless already compensated by way of an all-inclusive salary. If not already compensated through a higher salary, overtime can be compensated by way of extra time off or through overtime pay. Overtime pay is calculated as the employee’s average hourly pay, plus 50%; this increases to 100% for night and weekend shifts. Many collective bargaining agreements grant higher supplements (eg, 150%).

What exemptions are there from overtime? Pregnant employees must not work overtime, night shifts or on weekends. There is no general obligation to work overtime. However, if there is an operational emergency, employees must work overtime if required to avert any damage to their employer. This general obligation stems from employees’ fiduciary duties.  

Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement? The Holiday Act provides for 30 working days (weekdays from Monday through Saturday) of annual holiday for full-time employees. After 25 years of service, this period is extended to 36 working days of annual holiday. These entitlements translate to five weeks and six weeks of holiday, respectively. Additionally, employees are entitled to 13 public paid holidays. The full entitlement to annual holiday accrues after six months of service with an employer. Before this six-month period has elapsed, employees are entitled to two and a half days of holiday for each month of employment. Employers and employees must reach an agreement on holiday periods.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages? Employment income is subject to income tax (to be withheld by the employer) and social security contributions (to be paid by both the employer and employee). The income tax rates are as follows (after deductions for social insurance and deductible expenses):

  • up to €11,000 – 0%;
  • between €11,001 and €18,000 – (income - 11,000) x 25%;
  • between € 18,001 and € 31,000 – (income – 18,000) x 35 %;
  • between €31,001 and €60,000 – (income – 31,000) x 42%;
  • between €60,001 and €90,000 – (income – 60,000) x 48%;
  • between €90,001 and €1,000,000 – (income – 90,000) x 50 % and
  • above €1 million – (income –1 million) x 55%.

Social security contributions depend on an employee’s income level. Above a marginal level of €415,72 per month (2016), income is subject to social security contributions at a rate of 37.75% (of which the employer pays 20.68%).

Record keeping What payroll and payment records must be maintained? The statutory retention period for payroll records (including salary and bonuses) is seven years, if tax related. This applies with respect to wage withholding tax, social security contributions and tax-exempt reimbursements.

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