The Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK) is an institution representing employee interests. Membership is compulsory for the vast majority of employees in Austria and is established automatically. Most of the workers posted or hired out to Austria from other countries are not AK members. The Chamber of Labour nonetheless provides advice and assistance to such workers on an individual basis.
The Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) is an institution that represents employee interests. Membership is voluntary. It comprises seven trade unions specialised by sector. One of the main tasks is negotiating and entering into collective agreements. Support and advice is given to member in legal matters.
The Chambers of Agricultural Labour (Landarbeiterkammern) are institutions that represent the interests of blue-collar and white-collar workers in agriculture and forestry. Organisations are established in Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg. Membership is established automatically and is compulsory. Even though workers posted or hired out from another country will normally not be members of the Chamber of Agricultural Labour, these offices provide advice and assistance in individual cases.
The Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer, WK) is an institution representing the interests of employers in trade and industry. Membership is compulsory. The Economic Chamber is divided into trade organisations based on industry sectors (Sparten); these are referred to as trade groups (Fachgruppen) at Laender level and trade associations (Fachverbände) at federal level. Employers established in another country do not belong to the Austrian Economic Chamber. The Economic Chamber negotiates collective agreements on behalf of employers.
The Chambers of Agriculture (Landwirtschaftskammern) are legally mandated to represent the interests of farmers and foresters, in other words of employers in agriculture and forestry; membership is compulsory.
The Labour Inspectorates (Arbeitsinspektorate) verify compliance with statutory provisions, such as working time regulations, which are aimed at protecting employees’ lives and health when at work. Employees who are posted or hired out to Austria can report any suspected breaches of such regulations to the competent Labour Inspectorate. The Labour Inspectorate investigates any complaints, treating them with the utmost confidentiality.
Employees posted or hired out to Austria are entitled to bring action to assert claims based on labour law. In the capacity of Labour and Social Court, the Regional Court (Landesgericht) with local jurisdiction for place of work the rules on the action. Free advice is available every Tuesday from 8 am to 12 noon; an appointment should be made by phone in advance.
The tasks of the Austrian Anti-Fraud Office include verifying compliance with regulations on minimum pay and temporary agency work. Employees who are posted or hired out to Austria can report to the Anti-Fraud Office any suspected breaches of regulations governing minimum pay and temporary agency work. The organisation has offices throughout Austria.
When posting or hiring out workers to Austria, notice is required to be provided to the Central Co-ordinating Agency Charged with Investigating Illegal Employment (Zentrale Koordinationsstelle für die Kontrolle der illegalen Beschäftigung, ZKO).
Paying workers less than the minimum wage is a punishable offence under administrative law in Austria. Workers posted or hired out to Austria can report any suspected underpayment to the District Administration Authority (District Commission, City Magistrate, Magistrate or, in Vienna, the Municipal District Office).
Included in the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Wirtschaft) are labour law, occupational health and safety, labour market policy and cross-border temporary agency work.
The Ministry of Labour and Economy is also responsible for issues relating to business licences and the recognition of qualifications for providing services, when qualifications have been acquired in another country.
The portfolio of the Ministry of Finance (Bundesministerium für Finanzen) includes taxation policy and combating tax fraud. In addition, any authorities which accept notices or reports related to the cross-border posting of workers and temporary agency work, and which verify compliance with formalities and with minimum wage regulations are subject to the Ministry of Finance.
The responsibilities of the Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium für Inneres) include matters involving the entry and residence of individuals who are not Austrian nationals. The information and contact details provided on the Ministry of the Interior’s website could be of particular interest where workers posted or hired out to Austria are ‘third-country nationals’, who do not hold the citizenship of an EEA Member State.
Based on case investigations carried out by the finance police, the CWSD Competence Centre verifies whether the remuneration of workers posted or hired out to Austria complies with minimum wage regulations.
The Construction Workers’ Holiday and Severance Pay Fund (Bauarbeiter-Urlaubs- und Abfertigungskasse, BUAK) is an administrative body under public law for handling construction workers’ entitlements to holiday and severance pay and to bad weather compensation. In the event that workers are posted or hired out to Austria to perform construction work, the Coordination Department of the BUAK is the office to be contacted directly in matters involving notice of the posting to Austria, paying the statutory annual leave supplements and claiming annual leave entitlement acquired in Austria.
The BUAK also verifies compliance with minimum wage regulations in the construction sector. Employees who are posted or hired out to Austria can report to the BUAK any suspected breaches of regulations governing minimum pay.
The Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS) is a public corporation tasked with placing potential employees in job vacancies. The AMS provides information and advice and supports employment placement. In the event of unemployment, the AMS is responsible for the public duties of verifying entitlement to benefits in lieu of pay (e.g. unemployment benefit) and paying out such benefits. In the case of posted workers who are third-country nationals, the AMS verifies the report provided to the Central Co-ordinating Agency Charged with Investigating Illegal Employment (ZKO) and rules on whether to issue an ‘EU posting confirmation’ (Entsendebestätigung).
Diplomatic representations of other countries in Austria
The website of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres) provides contact information for your country’s diplomatic representation in Austria.
European information network facilitating cooperation among public employment administration, trade unions and employers’ associations in the interests of supporting job mobility in Europe The website offers, amongst other items, information on the labour market situation and labour law regulations in the individual countries as well as details of other offices and organisations to contact.
European Union institution for information and research The website provides information on specific areas related to working conditions EU-wide, including details, individual studies as well as complete summaries and country comparisons; an example is a presentation of the relationships among social partners and of collective labour law in Austria.
Austrian Federal Government website advising on access to Austrian authorities and their specific areas of competence, and providing basic legal information relating to work, social affairs, taxation, family, youth protection and other topics, as well as forms for E-government services.
Information on the right of residence and settlement and laws pertaining to the employment of non-Austrians in the context of migration to and employment in Austria Additional information on the topics of cross-border posting and hiring-out of workers, and lists of other offices and organisations to contact.