Part-time work for older workers

Austria's pension reform package, adopted in late 1997, includes provision for a combination of part-time pension entitlement and part-time employment in order to encourage older workers to reduce their working time. The consent of the employer will be required, but it will be possible for employees to bring complaints in court in the event of refusal.

In conjunction with the pension reform package which is being enacted in late 1997 (AT9711144F), an entitlement for older workers to work part-time has been introduced. This complements an entitlement to a part-time pension which was introduced previously, and has now been reformed. The part-time pension was formerly available only when all the requirements for early retirement were fulfilled, but from 1998 this will no longer be necessary. It will now be sufficient to have accumulated 300 months (25 years) of pension insurance contributions, of which 108 months (9 years) must have been made within the last 15 years. The pension will vary according to the other income received.

If employees are entitled to a part-time pension and are aged over 50, they can demand to have their normal working time reduced. If the employer does not comply and the company has more than 10 employees, the employee can sue in court for a reduction of working time. The Government originally planned that no consent by the employer would be necessary but employers' organisations insisted that management should have some say, fearing that it might be especially the more highly trained and hard-to-replace older workers who would choose to reduce working time. The beginning, duration and extent of the reduction in working time will have to be announced at least six months in advance. There will be a degree of protection from dismissal for the employees involved.

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