What is promised?
1. Further development of short-time work: In future, short-time work shall not only be possible in the event of economic difficulties, but will rather also be available to companies that implement an ecological and climate-friendly production method or convert their company to a digital business in order to secure employment. This is quite a novelty and acknowledges the high financial and time resources that are necessarily required by such implementation or conversion. At the same time, the risk of reducing workforce due to these implementations shall be reduced based on the new concept of short-time work.
a) Evaluation of a new immigration category “trusted employees”;
b) Improvement of work-life balance by accomplishing blocked free time periods through implementing a “time value account” or sabbatical models (postponing the beginning of regular retirement);
c) Setting incentives for so called partnership-based agreements, i.e., enabling families to share “family work” and regular employment by implementing a so-called “time corridor model”;
d) Review of the models on continued remuneration in connection with the prohibition of employment in the event of pregnancy and long periods of illness;
e) Increasing minimum wages specified in Collective Bargaining Agreements (“CBA”) as well as minimum wages of for employees not covered by CBAs;
f) Evaluation of potentials on reducing social security contributions without reducing the insurance coverage;
g) Debureaucratizing the Austrian labor inspectorate as well as employee protection regulations – the principle “prioritizing advising over punishing” shall be adhered to in future.
The above represents one-step in the right direction; in particular, the prospective evaluation of the current penalty provisions of the Act on Wage and Social Dumping as well as the promised developments of short-time work would clearly be an achievement. Nevertheless, the governmental program is lacking a good deal of concrete actions in relation to employment law. Particularly essential issues with regard to working time, such as the introduction of trust-based working time models are not dealt with after all. Additionally, there is also no tendency in simplifying the current regulations on working time and rest periods. Consequently, the governmental program does clearly not achieve a real modernization of employment law.