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Doing business in Austria: Staff welfare

29 March 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 30 March 2012

This guide gives brief information on the legislation which directs social rules in the workplace in Austria.


Legal requirements

The main legal foundation for social rules in the workplace is the Austrian Civil Code.

Austrian Civil Code

Social rules

Non-discrimination, equal treatment and gender equality

Equal treatment is protected by a range of national laws. There is also the Equal Treatment Act which bans discrimination based on ethnic background, age, religion, etc.

Equal Treatment Act

There is a law that bans discrimination against people with disabilities at work and another which bans discrimination in everyday life. Both laws apply to both the public and the private sector.

Federal Act on Equality of Treatment for Persons with Disabilities

Equal Treatment Act

Federal Act for the Equal Treatment Commission and the Equal Treatment Office

Article I. Health and safety at work

There are industrial safety regulations to protect employees. Among other matters, the regulations govern the following:

  • the use of hazardous machines and tools;
  • exposure to hazardous substances;
  • the impact on the wellbeing of employees due to working procedures and other influences;
  • risk prevention measures;
  • training and testing;
  • the design of work stations, working environments and sanitary facilities;
  • working conditions for young people and pregnant women;
  • working hours and breaks;

Labour Protection Act

List of all key regulations

Labour law

Labour law consists of labour contract law, labour relations law and labour protection law.

Contract law

Labour contract law incorporates all legislation governing individual legal relations between employers and employees.

Information about labour contract law

Labour relations law

Labour relations law (collective labour law) incorporates all legislation governing the structure, function and organisation of interest representation at industry level (trade union law) and company level (labour relations in the workplace).

Information about labour relations law

Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.

Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.

Administrative procedures

Non-discrimination, equal treatment and gender equality


Arbitration proceedings

The Federal Social Welfare Office is the central point of contact for all matters concerning discrimination against disabled persons.

Federal Social Welfare Office

Arbitration proceedings at the Federal Social Welfare Office must be carried out before cases are taken to court. These proceedings delay all deadlines for the assertion of legal claims due to an act of discrimination.

If at the end of the proceedings the Federal Social Welfare Office determines that no agreement can be reached, the case can be taken to court (or the supreme administrative authority in the case of civil servants).

Information about arbitration

Equal Treatment Commission (GBK)

The Equal Treatment Commission (GBK) is a body that works alongside the Federal Minister for Women and Civil Service. It is tasked with investigating suspected instances of discrimination and producing general reports about discrimination issues.

An application must be submitted to the GBK before it begins proceedings. An application can be submitted by the person concerned, a workers' council, a special interest group or the Equal Treatment Office. The process is private and confidential as well as being free of charge.

Equal Treatment Commission for the private sector

Federal Equal Treatment Commission

The Federal Equal Treatment Commission (B-GBK) is a body that works alongside the Federal Minister for Women and Civil Service. It is a special administrative branch of the Federal Government which handles discrimination within the context of working relationships with the Federal Government.

On receiving an application or official instructions, the senate must produce a report outlining whether or not there has been a breach in the equal treatment law. The senate also checks compliance with the law for the prevention of discrimination against women.

Federal Equal Treatment Commission

Health and safety at work

Workplace evaluation requires employers to determine and evaluate all dangers and health risks existing in the workplace. The results are then used to implement risk prevention measures.

Employers are also expected to remain informed about the latest technology in terms of work equipment as well as the latest findings on work station design. Any costs that may be incurred due to the Labour Protection Act must be covered by the employer.

Workplace evaluation

Labour protection forms

Labour protection example regulations

Labour protection reporting obligations (forms)


The Austrian Government provides a range of information about equal treatment laws.

Federal Minister for Women and Civil Service

Federal Ministry for Labour, Social and Consumer Protection

Equal treatment

'Equal opportunities - Equal Treatment Law in Austria' brochure

Sexual harassment

Work and disability

Equal opportunities

Equal treatment for persons with disabilities

Useful information for people living and working in Austria is available from HELP, the Austrian government help service, or the Business Service Portal USP.

Official Austrian HELP service ''



There are numerous subsidies and concessions for employers in this area.

Subsidies for employers

In addition to the existing subsidy programmes provided by the Federal Economic Chamber, the Federal Social Welfare Office also provides special subsidies for persons with disabilities.

Subsidies for self-employed persons

Subsidies for occupational rehabilitation assistance to make entry into working life easier and help retain and secure existing jobs. The scope of the programme includes assistance for apprenticeships/education as well as carer/interpreting costs.

Subsidies for employees


Source: European Commission