European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2012-22/2506 – measures in Austria

Temporary suspension of employment and reemployment commitments

Kündigung mit Wiedereinstellungszusage

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 June 2012
Context Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 04 November 2022)

Background information

In theory, this instruments is available to all employees except for civil servants. In practice, it tends to apply to sectors that involve seasonal work, such as tourism and construction.

The re-employment commitment is legally binding. If it is not kept, compensation for termination of employment (just like in cases of unjustified dismissals) applies.

Content of measure

An employment relationship may be terminated, either by mutual agreement or by dismissal through the employer, but the employer commits to re-employ the employee at a later point in time (layoff and re-call). These commitments are also referred to as 'suspension agreements' ( Aussetzverträge ). During the period of unemployment, affected employees can receive unemployment benefits. However, they might be placed in a different job by the Public Employment Service ( AMS ). If re-employment is promised within a six-week period, employees are exempt from being given placements by the AMS.

Funding via the public employment service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS). During the period of unemployment, the employee receives unemployment benefits from the PES.

Examples include Kaufmann Holz, KTM (Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, Austrian motorcycle manufacturer)

Use of measure

In 2013, 11.8% of all recruitments were re-calls from previous employers (re-employment within six months), predominantly occurring in construction, catering and food services as well as agriculture (Eppel et al, 2015). Temporary layoffs are more common in SMEs, men are more affected than women (ibid).

By May 2009, the number of workers who benefited from this scheme (over 3,500) had increased by almost 50% since May 2008. In July 2009, the number of affected unemployed persons represented an 18% increase from July 2008, involving 26,325 workers. The numbers have decreased slightly during 2010, with peaks during January and February (Hochrainer et al, 2011).

This scheme is easy to implement, and is cost efficient at company level. For employers, it is a way to keep specific know-how tied to the company while not having to take care of the costs during suspension.

From a macro-economic perspective, it is not a very sound model as it does not ensure that non-worked time is used effectively, either regarding the employee's qualification or structural change of the company. Moreover, there is no real obligation to re-employ the worker. The company cannot promise additional payment/bonus when work is taken up again and the unemployed period is not perceived as constituting 'real unemployment'. The employee also experiences a reduction of income due to receipt of unemployment benefits instead of regular income and a loss of special payments (e.g. holiday and Christmas allowances).

A recent study from WIFO (2018) concludes that the practice of temporary suspensions is rather costly. In 2017, the instrument has caused a total cost of €432 million for the state, whereby nearly 14% of the founded employment contracts belonged to the same employer as before the suspension.

In 2020, in light of COVID-19, trade unions and the Chamber of Labour strongly advise employees not to agree on a temporary suspension. Instead, the employers should make use of the adapted version of short-term work  programme.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Workers in non-standard forms of employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public employment service
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions



  • 06 August 2009: Companies are increasingly using suspension contracts (
  • 01 December 2011: AK warns: Guaranteeing reinstatement can become a poverty trap (
  • 01 December 2015: Eppel, R., Horvath, T., Mahringer, H. and Zulehner, C. (2015), Die von temporären Layoffs betroffenen Arbeitskräfte und Betriebe. WIFO Monatshefte 88(12), pp. 911-927. (
  • 19 August 2018: WIFO study shows: 'Interim parking' of employees by companies at the AMS causes costs of 430 million euros. (
  • 17 March 2020: Do not sign a notice of termination with a confirmation of reinstatement (2020). (
  • 10 October 2022: Suspension contracts (


Eurofound (2022), Temporary suspension of employment and reemployment commitments, measure AT-2012-22/2506 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.