Concept interpreted in Austrian labour law doctrine as any employer-initiated change to the geographical location where work is to be performed or to the work activity to be performed, or to both.

An employer can effect a transfer only subject to the following conditions. Unless a right to transfer the employee was reserved to the employer in advance when the contract of employment was concluded (direktoriale Versetzung, i.e. employer-reserved transfer), the employer needs the agreement of the employee concerned (in which case it is described as vertragsändernde Versetzung, i.e. transfer involving a change to the contract of employment). If an employer-reserved transfer is impossible because the contract of employment contains no clause on the subject or it has been excluded by a subsequent agreement between the parties, and if the employee refuses to agree to a transfer involving a change to the contract of employment, the only option available to an employer who still wishes to implement a transfer is to pronounce a dismissal for variation of contract offering the employee the possibility of continuing to be employed subject to acceptance of changed terms and conditions. In establishments where a works council has been set up the employer must also inform the council of any intended transfer which is to last at least 13 weeks (see works constitution: rights and responsibilities of the works council) and, if it so requests, consult the council on the matter. If a transfer entails a drop in pay and/or otherwise less favourable terms and conditions of employment, the council has a right to object (this applies even where the employee concerned has expressly agreed to the transfer). In cases where the works council has objected, the only way in which the employer can still proceed with the transfer is to refer the matter to the labour and social security court (see works constitution: rights and responsibilities of the works council), which is required to grant its consent if the transfer is justified on objective grounds.

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.