Austrian labour law contains a number of protective provisions for disabled persons which are intended to enable or help them to obtain employment and to ensure its stability. Under the Disabled Persons Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz), every employer who regularly employs 25 or more people is obliged to employ at least one disabled person for every 25 employees. If this obligatory quota is not filled, the employer concerned must pay a compensatory tax (Ausgleichstaxe) in respect of each disabled person who should be employed; the proceeds are used for purposes such as subsidizing the operation of enterprises offering sheltered employment and programmes for resettlement in employment. If the quota is exceeded, however, the employer concerned is paid a premium.

Disabled employees enjoy special protection against dismissal (starting four months after the commencement of an employment relationship), in that an employer may not dismiss a disabled employee without prior consent from the Committee for the Disabled (Behindertenausschuss) of the relevant Federal Welfare and Disabled Persons Agency. Not every disability confers entitlement to classification as a disabled person for the purposes of the Act. Only applicants assessed by the authorities as suffering at least 50% disablement are classed as eligible to benefit from its protective provisions, as established on the basis of a decision by one of the above Agencies or by a social insurance institution providing industrial injuries insurance (in which case the criterion is that their earning capacity is reduced by at least 50%).

If at least five such eligible disabled persons (begünstigte Behinderte) are regularly employed in an establishment, they should as far as possible elect special disabled employee representatives as part of the election of the works council (see works constitution). See also social insurance: industrial injuries insurance/pensions insurance, social security.))

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.