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-2020-43/1310 – measures in Austria
|Country||Austria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 21 October 2020 – 01 December 2020|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Remuneration and rewards for workers in essential services
|Author||Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||23 October 2020 (updated 04 May 2021)|
The retail food sector and drugstores were not concerned by closures during the lock-down in spring in Austria due to the COVID-19 crisis. Retail workers were especially exposed to catching the disease as they had to keep the businesses running as so-called "system-critical" workers. Other areas in the retail/commerce sector, on the other hand (like clothes stores, furniture stores,...), were severely concerned by business closures during the lock-down phase and tremendous financial losses, with many workers on short-time work or becoming unemployed.
The large collective agreement for white-collar workers in the retail sector in Austria applies to 415,000 workers and 18,000 apprentices and is a uniform collective agreement for all diverse sections of the commerce sector. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the food (and drugstore) sector generally made (large) profits, the non-food sector encountered (large) losses. These two very distinct developments had to be taken into account in this autumn's annual collective bargaining round. Similar to the metalworkers a few weeks earlier, the conclusion was reached already in the first negotiating round, foreseeing a basic wage increase of 1.5% (compensating for inflation).
In addition, all companies "which can afford it" are called upon to pay a bonus of at least €150 to their employees. According to the union, every fourth retail worker will benefit from this measure. For apprentices, which were by regulation exempt from home-schooling during the lockdown in order to work, this bonus is mandatory. The bonus is to be paid by 1 December 2020.
Several supermarket chains (Rewe, Lidl, Hofer, Spar) have announced that they would pay such a bonus to their employees, also higher than the minimum amount of €150. Exact amounts and timing of the payment have yet not been announced. Some supermarkets (e.g. Rewe) have already paid their employees a voluntary bonus in spring, and support their employees now for a second time.
Employees in standard employment
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners jointly
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The sectoral social partners negotiated the annual collective agreement for the retail sector.
Before the negotiations, the union had demanded a mandatory Corona-bonus for all sectoral employees, but did not get through with its demand; nonetheless, both sides are supportive of the measure in the face of the economic circumstances.
(In summer, the union even held a petition for a bonus of €1,000 for all employees in critical infrastructure branches, but did not succeed.)
This case is sector-specific (only private sector)
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles||G45 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles|
|G46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles|
|G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), Recommendation for Corona bonus in retail collective agreement, measure AT-2020-43/1310 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/AT-2020-43_1310.html
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