Rights and obligations – Employers and employees

General information

If an employment relationship (employment contract/statement of employment terms)German text is established, employer and employee assume certain rights and obligations. Here, priority is given, on one hand, to the employee’s work obligation and, on the other hand, the employer’s obligation to pay remuneration and their duty of care. But also for example the extent of the daily and weekly working time, overtime hoursGerman text, break regulations, weekend rest, annual leaveGerman text etc. are contractually agreed, although the scope is prescribed by law and partly by collective agreements and works agreements.

If no explicit arrangements are made in this respect, rights and obligations are defined according to the type and scope of the service and the type of undertaking and the respective local practice.

The ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz (ASchG) was adopted specifically for preventive health care and accident prevention in the workplace. This law also confers certain rights and obligations on employers and employees.

Obligations of the employer according to the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz

According to the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz (ASchG), in order to achieve optimal workplace quality, employers are obliged to systematically identify and assess all hazards and health burdens to which people are exposed in the workplace. Based on the results, appropriate risk prevention measures are then determined. This whole process is called workplace evaluation workplace evaluation. At the same time, employers must stay informed about the latest state of the art with regard to work equipment and findings in the area of work structure.

Any costs incurred in relation to the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz (ASchG) must be borne by the employers.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment must be provided by the employers at their cost, if risks cannot be avoided or sufficiently limited through collective technical protective measures or work organisation measures.

Employers are obliged to provide the assessment for personal protective equipment provided by them to employees and the basis for the assessment of the Labour Inspectorate on request.

Please note

Special safeguards apply to women, young people and people who suffer from physical frailties or disabilities to the extent that they are exposed to particular risks by certain types of work or may pose a threat to other employees.n.

Obligations of the employee according to the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz

Employee obligations consist of applying the prescribed protective measures as per the instructions of their employer and behaving in such a way as to prevent hazards. With this in mind, the work equipment and the personal protective equipment provided by the employers must be used as intended.

If defects are identified or a work accident or an event that could almost have led to an accident occurs, this must be reported to employers or – if appointed – the company representative responsible for employee protection. If these people cannot be reached, employees are required to take the essential measures that they consider to be reasonable themselves.

Please note

The consumption of alcohol, other drugs and also medicines that may put the safety of other persons at risk is forbidden in the workplace.

Enterprises affected

Essentially all establishments, apart from agricultural and forestry establishments, administrative departments and federal, province and municipal schools as well as private households

Competent authority

The locally competent labour inspectorate (Arbeitsinspektion  BMAW)German text

Further information

Legal bases

Sections 3, 4, 5, 15, 69 and 70 of the ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz (ASchG)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy

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