Normal working time
The normal working time is the regular working time not including overtime. It may essentially not exceed eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. But a longer normal working time is permitted in some cases.
Numerous collective bargaining agreements provide for a shorter weekly working time. The collective bargaining agreements also regulate the conditions under which work may be performed up to the 40-hour limit and whether a surcharge applies.
These rules apply to all citizens and entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.
Extension of the daily normal working time
The collective bargaining agreement can permit a normal daily working time of up to 10 hours. But the weekly normal working time remains limited to 40 hours. Longer daily working times therefore need to be offset within the same week.
If the working time ends early on a weekday, the normal working time on the other working days may be extended up to nine hours (if the collective bargaining agreement permits: ten hours).
In an establishment, the working time starts at 8:00 AM. On Friday, work finishes at 2:00 PM, so work is limited to six hours (early closing on Friday). To offset this, 8.5 hours are worked from Monday to Thursday.
If work is limited to a four-day week, the normal daily working time on working days may be up to ten hours. No work may be performed on the other three days.
This working time distribution must be specified by an employer/works council agreement. In establishments without a works council, a written agreement with the individual employees is required.
This working time distribution is not permitted in the construction sector.
If the establishment remains closed on working days between a public holiday and the weekend (bridge days) or certain employees are entitled to take these days off, the missed working time may also be distributed across working days in other working weeks.
The incorporation period amounts to no more than 13 weeks. The normal working time must not exceed ten hours on ‘overtime days’ or 60 hours in ‘overtime weeks’.
The 26th of December (public holiday) falls on a Wednesday. Thursday and Friday of this week are to be incorporated into the rest of the year. This leads to a loss of 16 working hours. As the lead-up to Christmas is particularly busy for this establishment, it is arranged that this time will be offset by extending the normal working time on 16 days between 1 November and 23 December by one hour.
The collective bargaining agreement may permit a longer incorporation period. However, the normal working time is limited to nine hours on the overtime days, unless the collective bargaining agreement expressly permits ten hours. This restriction does not apply for the construction sector.
If, for example, the employee constantly has to monitor a screen, this is no longer considered standby duty.
There are two prerequisites for a working time extension for standby duty:
- The working time extension must be permitted by the collective bargaining agreement. If no collective bargaining agreement is in place, the employer may conclude an employer/works council agreement with the works council. If no works council exists, a request may be submitted to the Labour Inspectorate.
- A significant amount (at least one third) of the standby duty must regularly fall within the employee’s working time.
If both prerequisites are in place, the daily normal working time can be extended to up to twelve hours and the weekly normal working time up to 60 hours. The collective bargaining agreement can also specify lower limits.
In case of flexitime, the employee can independently determine the start and end of the daily normal working time. This may essentially amount to up to ten hours.
Before introducing flexitime, the employer must conclude an employer/works council agreement with the works council. In establishments without a works council, the flexitime must be agreed to with the individual employees in writing.
If this agreement stipulates that a time credit can also be eliminated by entire free days and this is possible in connection with the weekly rest period, the daily normal working time may be extended to twelve hours.
The flexitime agreement specifies that a certain number of free days can be taken off each year to offset time credits. These free days may also be taken on Friday or Monday. This makes it possible to take a long weekend. In this case, a daily normal working time of twelve hours can be agreed.
This flexitime agreement must contain the following rules:
- The flexitime framework defines the earliest start and latest end of the normal working time.
- Mandatory attendance may be defined for certain times (block time).
- The flexitime period defines the period in which compliance with the average normal working time of 40 hours (or the shorter normal working time as defined in the collective bargaining agreement) must be ensured.
- However, an agreement that permits the existence of time credits or time debits at the end of the flexitime period may be reached. They can be transferred to the next flexitime period.
- The period in which justified absences are credited towards the working time (notional normal working time) must be defined.
Online guide and calculator
Further information can be found on the Labour Inspectorate’s website:
- ‘Working time, time off – general provisions’ brochure (→ Labour Inspectorate)German text
- Overview of the working time limits (→ Labour Inspectorate)German text
- Working time limits in retail (→ Labour Inspectorate)German text
- Working time limits in construction (→ Labour Inspectorate)German text
Further information on the topic of ‘working time’ (→ AK)German text can be found on the Chamber of Labour website.
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour