SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

Austria’s 3G rule for workplaces: How will it work?

Here's what we know so far about Austria's plans to require proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative Covid-19 test to enter workplaces, after the Health Minister shared further details on Wednesday.

Office workers at computers
The rule change comes into effect from November 1st, with a two-week 'transition period' to begin with. Photo: Israel Andrade/Unsplash

“It cannot be the case that people have to expose themselves to the risk of a Covid-19 infection at work,” said Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein at a press briefing announcing more details on the measures.

What will the law say?

If you work somewhere where physical contact with other people cannot be ruled out (ie in most workplaces where you don’t work entirely alone), you will be required to show a Covid pass or proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test to enter.

This doesn’t only apply to working time, so for example even if you have a private office, the law will still apply if there is a possibility you would come into contact with other people for example in a lunch room, reception area or other common area. But truck drivers are an example of non-affected workers, since they are alone in their vehicles.

What’s 3G and how do I prove it?

The 3G Rule refers to ‘Getestet, Geimpft, Genesen’ (Tested, Vaccinated, Recovered) and describes the three ways someone can provide evidence they have some level of protection from Covid-19. 

Where the rule is in place, people need to show evidence of vaccination, a negative test or having recently recovered from the virus. 

This can be done using Austria’s own Covid health pass app, called the Grüner Pass, or with another valid proof, for example the yellow vaccination booklet you will have received if you were vaccinated in Austria, or an EU digital Covid certificate.

When will the rule apply?

The law is expected to be passed on Friday or Saturday after a Federal Council decision on Thursday. Previously, the centre-left SPÖ had threatened to block it, but came to an agreement with the government on Tuesday after the government met its demand of maintaining free Covid-19 tests beyond October.

The workplace rule will come into effect from November 1st, but the first two weeks will be a ‘transition period’. This means that up until November 14th, people without proof of 3G can still enter workplaces as long as they wear face masks.

Do people still have to wear face masks at work?

After the 3G rule comes into effect, FFP2 masks will not be a requirement in workplaces. In general, Austria does not require masks in places where 3G is in place. The exception is the transition period mentioned above; during the first two weeks of the measure, workers must wear FFP2 masks if they do not have 3G proof.

This also means that staff at supermarkets for example, who have previously been required to wear masks, will no longer have to do this as long as they have 3G proof. Masks will remain mandatory for customers.

In hospitals and nursing homes, staff must wear FFP2 masks as well as showing proof of 3G.

Of course, an employer may introduce their own additional measures if judged necessary to reduce the risk of infection, including requiring masks.

What happens if people break the rule?

Both employers and employees have a responsibility to adhere to the law.

Random checks will take place, and penalties of up to €500 for employees and up to €3600 for employers will apply for those found to be breaking the law.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

WORKING IN AUSTRIA

What are the rules on working overtime in Austria?

There comes a time in many people’s working life when overtime is required (or even welcomed). But what are the rules in Austria?

What are the rules on working overtime in Austria?

Working overtime (Überstunden) usually means earning extra money – but it also requires more work and less time for your private life.

Plus, whereas some people might jump at the chance to boost their income, others might not have the capacity to take on more work due to family commitments, or even poor health.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How can foreign doctors practise medicine in Austria?

So what happens if your employer asks you to work overtime in Austria?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are regular working hours in Austria?

Regular working hours are set by the Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz), which applies to most private-sector employees in Austria over the age of 18.

The law states that regular working hours are eight hours within a 24-hour period, or a 40-hour week.

However, this is not set in stone as working hours can be adjusted by collective agreements or negotiations with an employer. 

This means a working week can be reduced to 38 hours, for example, or a working day increased to 10 hours to allow for a four-day work week or flexible working.

Likewise, shift work has different rules and staff can work up to 12 hours during one shift without stepping into overtime territory.

FOR MEMBERS: Will a 4-day week and free German lessons help Vienna’s transport network find staff?

What is considered as overtime?

If someone has a job with regular working hours of eight hours a day or 40 hours a week, then overtime starts when they go over those hours. But only if there are no previously agreed exceptions in place.

Furthermore, employees can only be expected to work overtime if it does not create a conflict with their other responsibilities, such as child care or health care.

For anyone that does work overtime, they should be paid at a rate of 1.5 times their usual pay.

For part time (Teilzeit) staff with a set number of contracted hours (e.g. 25 hours), the pay for overtime is 1.25 the usual rate. This is known as “extra work” (Mehrarbeit).

READ MORE: How Austrian employers use private detectives to check if workers are sick

What are the rules for working overtime in Austria?

According to the employment law in Austria, staff can work up to 20 hours per week in overtime. This means up to 12 hours a day and up to 60 hours a week.

But any request by an employer to work overtime can be refused if it would result in working more than 10 hours per day or 50 hours a week. An employee does not have to give a reason for turning down overtime.

It’s also worth noting that conditions around overtime can vary depending on an employment contract or collective agreement, so always check the rules in your workplace before agreeing to (or declining) overtime work.

Vocabulary

Overtime – Überstunden

Extra work – Mehrarbeit

Full time – Vollzeit

Part time – Teilzeit

Flexible working – Gleitzeit

SHOW COMMENTS