The Austrian legislators provide for a number of instruments (intended) to protect employees against the effects of rationalization measures.

These instruments include, primarily, the various means of protection available in the context of the works constitution, such as the obligations on the employer to supply the works council with relevant information; this must be done in sufficient time to allow proper consultation on the nature of any rationalization measures. If the (planned) measures entail serious disadvantages for the entire workforce or a significant proportion of the employees, the council can demand the conclusion of a social plan, in the form of an imposable works agreement regulating ways of preventing, eliminating or mitigating the disadvantageous consequences of rationalization.

It is, however, also conceivable for forms of protection to be laid down by collective agreement (qualitative and quantitative staffing rules, for example), although this means has so far been used in Austria only by way of exception (such as in the printing and publishing industry).

Lastly, the general systems of protection against dismissal and early warning of planned dismissals (see redundancies notification procedure) can also be enlisted as forms of protection against rationalization. In particular, the direct involvement of the local offices of the Employment Service means that employees who lose their jobs because of rationalization measures can be helped to find suitable jobs elsewhere.

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.