The intention behind collective agreements is to ensure minimum wages and minimum standards as well as other important working conditions without the involvement of the state.
Collective agreements are concluded between representatives of the employer and the employees who have the capacity to enter into such agreements. Alongside the minimum wage they also regulate other essential labour law provisions (such as arrangements regarding pay, flexible working hours and the termination of the employment relationship, etc.).
The capacity to conclude collective agreements
According to the Labour Relations Act, statutory interest groups of employers and employees have the legal capacity to make collective agreements as long as they are independent of their negotiating partners and are responsible for the regulation of working conditions. Independence from the other party means that it must be possible to clearly assign the organisation to the employers’ or the employees’ side.
The statutory interest groups which have the capacity to conclude collective agreements include:
- the Chambers of Labour (representatives of employees);
- The Austrian Economic Chamber (representatives of employers) and
- the chambers of the liberal professions (e.g. doctors, lawyers).
The capacity to conclude collective agreements can, however, also be established via legislation (e.g. Bundesrechenzentrum GmbH – the Federal Computing Center).
In addition, the Federal Conciliation Office at the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection can also officially recognise the capacity to conclude collective agreements of voluntary professional associations of employers and employees and certain other associations.
In the field of agriculture and forestry, recognition of the capacity to conclude collective agreements is carried out by the High Conciliation Commissions which are incorporated into the offices of the respective provincial government.
Recognition of the capacity to conclude collective agreements by the Federal Conciliation Office
|Professional associations of employees|
|The Austrian Federation of Trade Unions and specialist trade unions|
|– The Union of Private Sector Employees, Printing, Journalism and Paper|
|– The Union of Public Sector Workers|
|– Gewerkschaft younion_Die Daseinsgewerkschaft|
|– The Union of Construction and Wood Workers|
|– The Vida Trade Union|
|The Union of Postal and Telephone Workers|
|– The trade union PRO-GE|
|The Association of Upper Austrian Agricultural and Forestry Workers and the Federation of Employees and Pensioners in Agriculture and Forestry in Upper Austria|
|The Austrian Federation of Pharmacy Employees, occupational interest group|
|Professional associations of employers|
|The Association of Austrian Newspapers|
|The Association of Austrian Provincial Mortgage Banks|
|The Association of Austrian Banks and Bankers|
|The Association of Austrian Savings Banks|
|The Austrian Raiffeisen Association|
|The Association of Austrian Event Organisers|
|The Association of Austrian Insurers|
|The Main Association of Agricultural Employers in Lower Austria, Burgenland and Vienna|
|The Employers’ Association of Styrian Agriculture and Forestry|
|The Association of Austrian Cooperatives|
|The Consumer Association, Auditing Association of Austrian Consumer Cooperatives|
|The Employers’ Association of Upper Austrian Agricultural and Forestry Estates|
|The Austrian Industry Association|
|The Theatre Association of Austrian Provinces and Cities|
|The Austrian Pharmacists’ Association|
|The Viennese Stage Society|
|The Austrian Association of Private Hospitals|
|The Austrian Association of Power Stations|
|The Specialist Association of Lottery Agencies|
|The Federation of Lower Austrian Property and Land Owners|
|The Association of Property Owners in Vienna and the Austrian Provinces|
|The Association of Carinthian Agricultural and Forestry Holdings|
|The Employers’ Society of Austrian Construction Associations|
|The Association of Austrian Festivals|
|The Association of Austrian Skiing School Entrepreneurs|
|The Austrian Hotel Owners’ Association|
|The Austrian Magazine and Specialist Media Association|
|The Association of Austrian Road Companies to represent their occupational and business interests|
|The Austrian Football Bundesliga|
|The Association of Protestant Pastors in Austria|
|The Association of Styrian Residential and Care Homes|
|Association of Hospitals, Residential and Care Homes Run by Religious Orders|
|Umbrella Organisation for Outpatient Assistance for the Aged and Home Helps|
|Social Economy Austria (formerly BAGS)|
|The Association of Charity Organisations of the Catholic Church in Austria|
|Austrian Red Cross|
|Employers’ Association of the Protestant Charity Organisation Diakonie Austria|
|The Austrian Association of Regional Media|
|The Employers’ Association of Social and Health Care Organisations in Vorarlberg, Bregenz|
|Professional Association of Employers in Private Educational Organisations|
|Austrian Research Society, non-protection organisation for Austrian non-university research centres|
|SOS Children’s Villages|
|Professional Association of Employers in Paramedical and Related Occupations (BARS|
|Societies with the capacity to conclude collective agreements|
|Vienna Symphonic Society|
|Vienna Animal Protection Society|
|New Start – Probation Aid, Conflict Solving, Social Work|
|Lower Austrian Hilfswerk Charity Organisation|
Bylaws of collective agreements
A bylaw is a regulation to extend the area of application of a collective agreement.
The bylaw is intended to ensure that employers who are not covered by any collective agreement grant their workers the same wages and working conditions as those which would be laid down by the collective agreement.
The Federal Conciliation Office is responsible for the bylaws of collective agreements. When a bylaw is to be created, one party to the collective agreement has to make a relevant application to the Federal Conciliation Office.
Current bylaws can be viewed at the Rechtsinformationssystem des Bundes (RIS). bylaws are available for employees of private social and health care organisations, employees of private social and health care organisations in Vorarlberg, employees of ambulance and patient transport services, employees of private educational institutions and employees of the manufacturers of orthopaedic shoes in Salzburg, Carinthia and Styria; for the latter, amendments to labour market law and wages are also available.