Expression denoting the number of employees covered by collective agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees as a whole. In Austria, terms and conditions of employment are regulated by collective agreement for 71% of all employees. However, since almost the whole of the public sector is excluded from the right to bargain collectively, if the public employees concerned are subtracted from the total number of employees the resultant coverage amounts to 98%, with only a few minor areas of employment in the service sector excluded. This coverage, which is extremely high by international standards, is due to the legal framework governing industrial relations in Austria. First, in accordance with the Labour Constitution Act (Arbeitsverfassungsgesetz) even those employees who are not members of the signatory union to an agreement are covered by its provisions (see non-member effect). Second, on the employers' side almost all agreements are concluded by the Economic Chambers, for which membership is obligatory. Furthermore, the Act also provides for an official procedure whereby collective agreements concluded by voluntary employers' organizations can be extended to be generally applicable to non-member employers also, through an extension order. This can even apply to employment relationships lying outside the formal scope of an agreement if they are similar to those it covers. The use of this extension procedure means that most “gaps” in collective bargaining regulation resulting from any absence of voluntary organizations are in fact filled.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.