Categorization applied to establishments which, by their very nature, operate only at certain times of year or regularly experience an upsurge in their volume of business at certain times of year. If an employer enters into an employment relationship with an employee only for the duration of the season, this is automatically classed as a fixed-term employment contract since the agreed termination date is either fixed as a particular calendar date or is at least definable as certain to occur during an identifiable period. Since the Austrian courts hold that the initial conclusion of a fixed-term contract is lawful but that to conclude a chain of two or more consecutive fixed-term contracts (Kettenarbeitsverträge) is unlawful unless justified by compelling economic or social reasons (see contract of employment), the question arises whether seasonal reasons may be deemed to constitute such justifying grounds. According to case-law the answer is - or at least has been up till now - in the affirmative. The risk of the impossibility of employing employees during the “off season” can therefore lawfully be shifted onto the employee.

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.