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-2020-12/542 – measures in Austria

Mandatory usage of holiday entitlements and time credits

Abbau von Urlaubs- und Zeitguthaben

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 15 March 2020 – 31 December 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Working time and working time flexibility
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 13 April 2020 (updated 10 July 2020)

Background information

When there is a lack of employment in times of crisis, the use of holidays or time credits is a way of coping with the situation. The employee retains his or her job and has no loss of pay. The employer does need liquidity because labour costs do not decrease in the short term. However, he can release provisions and must grant correspondingly less vacation after the crisis. The variant of using compensation for time off is possible if it is agreed that overtime and overtime work is not paid in money but in free time.

Content of measure

Generally, on the use of holidays, there is an obligation to agree: The use of vacation must be agreed between employer and employee, if possible in writing and documented. Time off in lieu must also always be agreed between the employer and employee.

Exceptionally, the employer can unilaterally order leave and time off if measures according to a the Second COVID-19 Law lead to restrictions on entering holdings and as a result of such measures, services cannot be provided. In this case, the employer can (but does not have to) order the consumption of leave within the following framework:

  • Leave entitlement from previous years in full;
  • Leave entitlements from the current leave year to a maximum of two weeks;
  • In total, a maximum of 8 weeks of leave and time off in lieu can be order unilaterally by the employer.

The Civil Code of Austria (ABGB) was changed accordingly in order to allow for this crisis measure.

Use of measure

Currently no information available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The social partners were consulted on the COVID-19 laws.

Views and reactions

No reactions identified.



Eurofound (2020), Mandatory usage of holiday entitlements and time credits, measure AT-2020-12/542 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

19 May 2022


Working life in the COVID-19 pandemic 2021

This publication consists of individual country reports on working life during 2021 for 28 countries (the 27 EU Member States and Norway).


24 June 2020


COVID-19: Policy responses across Europe

This report aims to present an overview of both large-scale government measures and collective agreements that impact on large groups of workers.

16 June 2022


COVID-19 in the workplace: Employer's responsibility to ensure a safe workplace

Throughout 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, specific occupational health and safety rules were reintroduced due to increases in infection rates.


16 June 2022


Back to work after COVID-19: Testing, vaccines and green certificates

In the second pandemic year 2021, access to one's place of work was increasingly dependent on providing proof of either having been tested, vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in several countries.

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