Protection of older workers from dismissal relaxed

When it comes to challenging an employee's dismis¬sal on the grounds of social incompatibility, the pro¬vision of Section 105 (3b) of the Austrian Industrial Relations Act (ArbVG) stipulates stricter rules to pro¬tect older workers. In their case, special considera¬tion needs to be given to checking whether dismissal is socially unjustified and, in balancing social aspects, to the fact of the many years of uninterrupted em¬ployment and the age-related difficulties to be expec¬ted in reintegrating them in the labour market. Un¬der current law, individuals who are aged 50+ upon being hired enjoy such protection after completing their second year of employment. In order to facili¬tate reintegration of over-50-year-olds, this protec¬tion has been slightly relaxed: an employment relati¬onship commenced on or after 1 July 2017 is no lon¬ger subject to this special provision when the emplo¬yee is 50 years old at the time of hiring (Federal Law Gazette 2017/37). For such older workers, protection from dismissal is thus harmonised with that accorded to younger employees.

Five-year term for all works council members

All works council members and other workers repre¬sentatives (such as members of central and group works councils) who are appointed after 31 December 2016 have their term of office extended to five years. Similarly, the term served by disabled persons' repre¬sentatives under the Disabled Persons Employment Act (BEinstG) was extended to five years. Moreover, works council members had their claim for a sabbati¬cal leave under Section 118 ArbVG extended to three weeks and three working days within a given term of office; in companies that employ less than 20 em¬ployees on a permanent basis, each member of the works council may take such leave only without pay (Federal Law Gazettes 2017/12 and 2017/35).

Originally published June 2017

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