Update on changes in labor

Within the last week, a number of important legal changes were passed in parliament. The following presentation provides an up-to-date overview:​


Short-time work

The maximum permissible duration of short-time work will be extended by two months (from 24 months at present to 26 months in the future). Companies that have been on short-time work continuously since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic are able to  extend their short-time work until May 31st, 2022. We have already informed about this on People Thursday, March 3rd, 2022, . A further extension until June 30th, 2022 is possible in case of economic difficulties due to the war in Ukraine. The enactment of this provision and the promulgation of  the amended AMS short-time work regulation must still be awaited


Special care

Phase 6 of the special care period was extended by decree of the Minister of Labor until July 8, 2022, the beginning of the summer vacations (BGBl II 115/2022). The previously existing options for claiming (in the case of a legal entitlement) and agreeing on the special care time (§ 18b AVRAG) remain in place. Attention: The maximum of three weeks will not be increased! Only the period of phase 6, in which the special care time can be claimed or agreed, will be extended.


Special exemption for pregnant women

The National Council has approved a extension of the corona-related special exemption for pregnant women, which would expire at the end of March, by a further three months (BGBl I 19/2022). Pregnant employees who have physical contact with other persons at work continue to be entitled - until June 30, 2022 - to time off from the beginning of the 14th week of pregnancy and continued payment of their previous remuneration until the beginning of a ban on employment pursuant to Section 3 of the Maternity Protection Act (MSchG) (so-called "maternity protection"), provided that no alternative employment option (e.g. home office) exists (Section 3a MSchG). The entitlement to special exemption therefore ends - as before - either at the start of the general employment ban (eight weeks before the expected date of birth) or at the start of an early employment ban (for medical reasons).

The exemption for pregnant women with full vaccination protection, which has been in place since July 2021, is now no longer in place. We have already informed about this on People Thursday, February 10th, 2022.


Risk exemption

As of mid-December 2021, a Covid 19 risk certificate may only be issued to individuals,

  1. In whom either medical reasons exist despite having been vaccinated at least three times, suggesting severe disease progression of covid-19
  2. or who cannot (yet) be vaccinated for medical reasons.

With effect from April 1st 2022, the second exemption is now specified in that the person concerned must be exempt from the Covid-19 vaccination obligation under the Covid-19 Vaccination Obligation Act and a corresponding confirmation must be provided. This means that the person cannot be vaccinated without a concrete and serious danger to life or health, or that no immune response to vaccination against Covid-19 can be expected for medical reasons (Section 3 Covid-19-IG).

Furthermore, Covid 19 risk certificates issued before April 1st, 2022 must be confirmed within two weeks if the person concerned was actually released from work. In the case of persons who are exempt from compulsory vaccination, the confirmation must be issued by a suitable outpatient clinic of a hospital, public health officer or epidemiologist. In the case of persons who, despite having been vaccinated three times, have medical reasons to believe that Covid-19 has caused a serious illness, the confirmation may also be issued by the chief and control medical service of the health insurance institution. If no confirmation is received within this period, the entitlement to exemption ends (BGBl I 32/2022).

The entitlement to leave from work with continued payment for high-risk patients pursuant to Section 735 ASVG is (currently) limited until March 31, 2022. However, the period can be extended by regulation until the end of June 2022, if this is necessary due to the overall epidemiological situation. A corresponding regulation is expected in the next few days.

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