Although no general concept of this category exists in Austrian law, separate definitions are given in several labour law statutes. First, the Chambers of Labour Act (Arbeiterkammergesetz) excludes from membership of the Chambers of Labour executive staff “who regularly exert an important influence on the management of the company”. Second, under the Labour Constitution Act (Arbeitsverfassungsgesetz) “executive staff who exert an important influence on the management of the establishment” are not classed as employees for the purposes of the works constitution. Third, those excluded from the scope of the Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) include “executive staff who are assigned responsibility for important management functions”. Consequently, for each area in which this category is of legal relevance the delimitation of executive staff has to be applied separately, on the basis of the appropriate provisions, which certainly does not make it easy to apply the law. Otherwise, however, executive staff are classed as employees with white-collar worker status and therefore covered by all labour law statutes whose applicability to this category is not expressly excluded. They are also covered by collective agreements unless specifically excluded from their scope, and these contain special provisions, including pay grades, negotiated for them by the GPA.
From the point of view of the employment relationship, it is significant that executive staff who exert an important influence on the management of the establishment are not only excluded from eligibility to vote or stand as candidates in works council elections but are also unable to invoke general protection against dismissal and the provisions of works agreements. Furthermore, since the legislators have omitted to provide for separate representative bodies for executive staff there may be said to be a representation deficit in their case.
In addition to the GPA, voluntary associations for executive staff do exist above company level, including in particular the Wirtschaftsforum für Führungskräfte (Professional Forum for Managerial Staff), which provides information and advisory services for its members, but this is not a collective interest organization in the strict sense, in that its functions do not include representing the industrial relations interests of its members to the employers' side.