In dieser Folge setzen Isabel Firneis und Julia Marboe die Diskussion über die Umsetzung der EU-Work-Life-Balance-Richtlinie in Österreich fort und knüpfen damit an die vorherige Folge des Arbeitsrecht-Podcasts an. Im Fokus dieser Folge stehen die neuen schriftlichen Begründungspflichten für Arbeitgeber, die Ausweitung des Motivkündigungsschutzes für Arbeitnehmer sowie die Erweiterung des Gleichbehandlungsgesetzes in Zusammenhang mit gewisse Eltern- und Pflegerechten. Darüber hinaus werden die Änderungen zur Elternteilzeit nochmals aufgegriffen und konkretisiert und die Einführung einer neuen Ablaufhemmungen besprochen.
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EU Work-Life-Balance Directive in Austria: upcoming changes (part 2)
In this episode, Isabel Firneis and Julia Marboe continue discussing the implementation of the EU Work-life Balance Directive in Austria, as a follow-up to the previous episode of the Arbeitsrecht podcast. This episode focuses on the new obligation that employers have to provide certain written justifications, additional employee rights to challenge dismissals in court that are based on improper motives, as well as the broadened scope of the Equal Treatment Act in connection with certain parental and carers’ rights. In addition, the changes to parental part-time work will once again be addressed and further specified. Moreover, the introduction of new regulations that suspend the expiry of claims for parents and carers will be discussed.
Entitlement to Parental Part-time Work
The differences between the entitlement to parental part-time work and the agreement on parental part-time work are outlined and the reason why the extension of the agreed parental part-time until the child’s 8th birthday will have a strong practical impact for both employers and employees is explained.
From now on, employers are obligated to provide written justification for numerous decisions, including the dismissal of employees or the rejection of demands in connection with certain parental and carer’s rights.
The issuance of such written justification is, generally speaking, new to Austrian labour law. For this very reason, it would have been particularly desirable if the legislator had precisely regulated the minimum content of such a written justification. However, the opposite is true. The law does not foresee any further regulations in this context, which leads to numerous questions. Above all, what legal risks are associated with the omission of the written justification, or whether there are any at all, is questionable.
Additional possibilities for employees to challenge a dismissal on the basis of an improper motive
The transposition of the Work-life Balance Directive has resulted in an extension of the protection against dismissal of parents and carers on the grounds of an improper motive. These changes make it easier for employees to challenge dismissals in court, as they need only make a case for the improper motive credible, not prove it.
Changes to the Equal Treatment Act
To put it very simply, the scope of the Equal Treatment Act was extended and now also includes discrimination within the context of parenthood and the assertion of certain care rights. Therefore, moving forward, discrimination no longer needs to be related to another protected criterion, such as gender, to trigger protection under the Equal Treatment Act.
Suspensions to Limitation Periods
Due to the implementation of the EU Work-life Balance Directive statutory, collective contractual limitation periods are extended for up to two weeks after returning from certain types of parental- or carers leave.