As of 1 September 2021, the amendment to the Austrian Act against Wage and Social Dumping (“Lohn- und Sozialdumping Bekämpfungsgesetz – LSD-BG”), which had been expected for quite some time, entered into force. The modifications are intended to eliminate existing ambiguities and contradictions with the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as well as the EU-Posted Workers Directive and the corresponding amending legislation. Moreover, the changes are also intended to consider the experience gained in practice in connection with the application of the provisions. The new legal provisions are applicable to postings and labor leasing assignments that began after 31 August 2021.
The following is an overview of the most significant changes:
According to the amendment of the LSD-BG, a corresponding service contract between the posting company and the service recipient in Austria as well as a valid employment relationship between the posting company and the posted worker are now required for cross-border postings.
Furthermore, the exceptions with regard to the scope of application of the LSD-BG were extended. The following provides a summary of categories of work activities which are excluded from the scope of application of the LSD-BG:
Employees posted and leased to Austria are now treated the same as Austrian employees if the actual posting or leasing from the EEA or Switzerland exceeds a period of 12 months (or 18 months in exceptional cases). From this time on, the Austrian labor law standards are applicable in their entirety, insofar as these are more favorable than the corresponding standards of the posting country. Exceptions exist with regard to the regulations of the Corporate Staff and Self-Employment Provision Act and the Corporate Pension Act , as with regard to the formalities and conditions for entering into and the termination of employment contracts.
The new provisions now clarify that posted employees are entitled to travel, accommodation and meal expenses incurred during the posting in Austria. The amount of the reimbursement is based on the standard compensation amount for comparable employees of comparable employers in Austria.
It is now not an infringement of administrative law to mistakenly use an incorrect form for the notification of a posting or leasing now (for postings, the ZKO3 form has to be used, and for secondments, the ZKO4 form).
Framework notifications can be submitted for employees who are repeatedly engaged across borders for the performance of service or service procurement contracts or within a company group. In the past, a framework notification was only possible for a maximum period of three months. Since the amendment entered into force, framework notifications can be submitted for a maximum period of up to six months.
Simplifications were implemented in connection with the provision of the necessary wage documents in the event of a posting or leasing. It is now possible to provide the employment contract, the employee registration for social insurance, as well as other wage documents in German or English. If employees – who are not mobile employees – are not posted for more than 48 hours, it is sufficient to provide the employment contract as well as the working time records.
In the course of the amendment of the “LSD-BG”, the powers of the financial police were also extended. The latter can now demand the provision of the wage documents up to one month after the end of the posting or leasing. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the relevant documents available even after the termination of the posting or leasing.
With the entry into force of the amendment, the so-called "accumulation principle" was repealed. Accordingly, there is now one single violation of administrative law regardless of the number of employees affected by the infringement. At the same time, however, new penalty ranges without minimum penalties were implemented. Accordingly, penalties of up to EUR 400,000 are possible, depending on the type and severity of the violation of administrative law. The conditions for imposing a payment stop, a payment ban and the provision regarding security payments have also been amended.
It is now stipulated that the foreign employer (lessor) of a worker leased across borders to Austria has the duty to inform the local employer (lessee) and the employee with regard to the applicable statutory labor law provisions and the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement applicable regarding the remuneration of the employee.
The amendment made some necessary changes to make the application of the “LSD-BG “easier from a practical point of view. Nevertheless, cross-border postings and leasings to Austria continue to be very complex issues with numerous ambiguities and pitfalls, where employers are recommended to consult legal experts. The Deloitte Legal team will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.
Stefan Zischka ist Partner und leitet den Fachbereich Arbeitsrecht bei Jank Weiler Operenyi Rechtsanwälte (JWO), dem österreichischen Mitglied des globalen Anwaltsnetzwerkes Deloitte Legal. Seine Tätigkeitsschwerpunkte umfassen die Bereiche Arbeits- und Sozialrecht sowie Zivilprozessrecht (Litigation). Im Jahr 2017 schloss er sich JWO als Partner an. Vor JWO war Stefan Zischka als Rechtsanwalt in einer der größten Rechtsanwaltkanzleien Österreichs (CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte) und als Legal Counsel in der Erste Bank tätig.
Friederike Hollmann ist Rechtsanwältin bei Jank Weiler Operenyi RA | Deloitte Legal und Mitglied des Praxisteams Employment Law. Ihre Tätigkeitssschwerpunkte liegen in den Bereichen Arbeitsrecht und Litigation. Sie verfügt über langjährige Beratungspraxis und vetritt Mandanten regelmäßig vor Gerichten und Behörden.