This provision has now been amended and repealed by two new paragraphs in the Austrian Civil Code (Section 1155 para 3 and para 4 Austrian Civil Code). Employees who are not able to provide their services due to measures based on the COVID-19 Measures Act (Federal Law Gazette No. 12/2020) are obliged to make use of vacation and time credits during this period upon the employer's request.
For this reason, as an exception, the employer may now unilaterally request vacation (and compensatory time off) under the following conditions:
- Measures according to the COVID-19 Measures Act (especially Ordinance 96/2020) lead to restrictions on entering business premises
- No services will be provided as a result of such measures.
However, the employer may request the use of vacation time only within the following limits:
- Vacation entitlements arising from previous vacation years in full;
- Vacation entitlements arising from the current vacation year amounting to a maximum of 2 weeks;
- In total, a maximum of 8 weeks of vacation and compensatory time-off can be requested;
- The use of time credits based on a conversion of monetary entitlements into time off by collective agreement or company agreement cannot be requested.
Although these innovations only apply in the case of service interruptions due to access prohibitions or at least access restrictions, it can rather be assumed that - as long as a company is directly or indirectly affected by the Covid-19 measures - this unilateral possibility of requesting vacation time-off by the employer will continue to exist.
These regulations apply retrospectively as of March 15, 2020 but only until December 31, 2020.
For further information, please contact the author of this article: Attorney Mag Christian Kux