Website of the Austrian Social Ministry

The labour market

Employers look for suitable workers on the labour market, while workers look for vacancies. The special characteristic of the labour market, however, is that it is not price - in other words wages and salaries - which regulates supply, because this is prevented by the lower limits on wages in the collective agreements. 

In contrast to products and services there is also no complete transparency - for example in the working conditions on offer, the abilities of the workers and the general state of the (labour) market. 

The intervention of politics is therefore decisive in order for the labour market to function well. Over decades, a system of cooperation between policymakers and the so-called social partners has developed in Austria which is exemplary in Europe. Sustainable compromises are reflected in productive labour market and social legislation and ensure functioning cooperation in working life. 

The competent bodies

In Austria, labour market policy is performed by the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice), a public sector company with its own legal personality.

International social and labour-related standards are formulated and implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO), a special organisation of the United Nations.

The framework for Austrian labour market policy is also formed by the concepts and guidelines of the European Union.

Legal aspects

The interaction between employees and companies in Austria takes place on the basis of numerous laws and regulations. Important laws for employment relationships include the Employees Act (Angestelltengesetz), the Holidays Act (Urlaubsgesetz), the Regulation on Workplaces and the respective collective agreements.

Main focuses and measures

The Public Employment Service Act (section 59 para. 2) obliges the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection to issue labour market policy targets to the Public Employment Service. The currently applicable targets from 2010 include promoting equal opportunities for women, young people, older people, migrants and persons with health-related limitations.