Austria has two systems of statutory severance payments. Generally, one applies to employment contracts that started before 2003 (Abfertigung Alt / severance old system), while the other is relevant for contracts that started after 2002 (Abfertigung Neu / severance new system).

During 2012, both employers and employees, based on the laws in force, were repeatedly reminded by their lawyers and pension fund advisors that the possibility for a full transfer (Vollübertritt) from the old system into the new system would be available only until 31 December 2012.

However, at the very last moment, the respective Act that provided for this deadline [Corporate Employee and Self-Employed Retirement Act (Betriebliches Mitarbeiter- und Selbständigenvorsorgegesetz – BMSVG)] was amended.

Pursuant to the Government Bill (Regierungsvorlage zum Pensionsfonds-Überleitungsgesetz), the temporal limitation associated with the option for a full transfer has been abolished without replacement. Thus, for employers and employees with employment contracts that started before 2003, both partial and full transfers (Teil- und Vollübertritt) to the new system are now available without a time limit being applicable.

The Government Bill has already passed the legislative procedures in both the National Council (Nationalrat / 5 December 2012) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat / 20 December 2012].

Please note that the amendment has not yet entered into force. However, both the required authentication by the Federal President and the promulgation in the Federal Law Gazette are expected to take place in January 2013.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.