Friday, April 20, 2012

Austria Considers Lowering Working Week To Raise Employment Rates of Older Workers

According to press reports, Austrian SPÖ Labour Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer is in favor of a reduction of the general working hours from 40 to 38.5 per week in order to help keep elderly workers and employees in work longer. In addition, Hundstorfer said that that lowering people’s average working hours could be beneficial to the government’s attempts to increase the average pension age.

Statistics have shown that even though the retirement age for men is 65 in Austria, they are retiring on average at 58.9 years. At the same time, women are retiring on average at age 57.5 years, even though their retirement age is 60. Altogether, Only 42.4% of Austrians aged between 55 and 65 have a job.

The reports are that the SPÖ would create various labor law draft bills and models for the job market of the future. While the Federal Trade Union (ÖGB) announced support for the working week reduction vision, although warning that lowering the working week by 1.5 hours must not mean salary cutbacks, the Economy Chamber (WKO) made clear that it was against a reform.

Sources: Austrian Independent "Hundstorfer ready to reduce working week" (April 18, 2012); FriedlNews "Labor Time: Resistance Against SPÖ´s Plans" (April 17, 2012)

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