How do I enforce my claims?
Enforcement of individual claims held personally – civil proceedings
Employees in Austria can enforce any individual claims held against their employer only by bringing an action before the Labour and Social Court (Arbeits- und Sozialgericht), i.e. by initiating civil proceedings.
Any claims that posted or hired-out employees hold against their employers on the basis of employment laws can be brought before the Labour and Social Court in Austria having jurisdiction over the place of employment.
You can find out the Labour and Social Court in Austria that has jurisdiction in your particular case by going to 'Behördenabfrage' on help.gv.at, selecting "Gericht" and entering the postal code or municipality.
As German is the official language in Austria, bringing in a claim or filing an action often entails challenges to language skills. It is therefore useful in many cases to seek support:
The competent regional Chamber of Labour (in German) offers professional advice.
To receive such support, the employee seeking to assert a claim must appear personally and be able to communicate understandably in German or English or be accompanied by someone able to interpret.
In the capacity of Labour and Social Court (in German), the regionally competent District Court (Landesgericht) offers a court consultation day every Tuesday from 8 am to 12 noon where free advice is provided.
An action can be filed orally there.
It is recommended to first contact the court by phone.
Claims against their employer that posted or hired-out employees have become entitled to in Austria can also be enforced in the country
where the employer is established
- where the habitual place of work is located.
Please note: In the Austrian legal system, claims based on employment law can lapse within a relatively short period of time. You are therefore advised to enforce your claim as soon as possible.
Enforcement of legal compliance in general – administrative penal proceedings
In addition, any person (i.e. an employee or any other person) gaining knowledge of a lack of compliance with provisions of public law pertaining to employment (e.g. relating to minimum remuneration, working time, workplace safety and health) can report the violation to the District Administration Authority (District Commission, City Magistrate, Magistrate or, in Vienna, the Municipal District Office).
In the download below you will find an overview of the authorities you can address to enforce claims in Austria:
Example – payment of less than the minimum wage:
Action before the Labour and Social Court and report to the administrative authorities
Posted or hired-out employees receiving too little pay can claim the difference before the Labour and Social Court.
Paying workers so little as to not meet even the minimum wage level (referred to as underpayment - Unterentlohnung) is punishable in Austria under administrative penal law.
Apart from any action brought before the Labour and Social Court, the posted or hired-out employee can file a report of a suspected case of underpayment with the following authorities:
- Financial police
- CWSD Competence Centre (Kompetenzzentrum LSDB) at the Vienna Regional Health Insurance Fund (Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse) (in German)
- District Administration Authority (District Commission, City Magistrate, Magistrate or, in Vienna, the Municipal District Office) (in German)
- Construction Workers’ Holiday and Severance Pay Fund (with construction work; Bauarbeiter-Urlaubs- und Abfertigungskasse, BUAK)
On receiving the report, the particular authority investigates the case to ascertain the legality of the pay level.
Where a violation is suspected, the District Administration Authority initiates administrative penal proceedings.
In cases involving posting or cross-border hiring-out of workers, it is common for the proceedings to be pursued against an employer not established in Austria.
Possible outcomes of the administrative penal proceedings:
- Fine is imposed on the employer
- Employer is prohibited from any future activities in Austria
- Proceedings are discontinued