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Austria – Temporary agencies feel punished by new legislation

31 May 2012

The association of employment agencies of the Austrian Economic Chambers (WKO) has embarked on a campaign to increase the recognition of temporary employment on the national labour market after staffing firms said they feel punished by new legislative changes, which will impact the market from next year.

The campaign points out that temporary agency workers often earn higher salaries than permanent employees and aims to combat some of the prejudices the industry is facing, such as accusations of an inherent ‘hire and fire’ culture.

“Temporary employment deserves credit” is the name of the campaign which argues that temporary staffing is an important part of the jobs market in Austria.

This comes after major recruitment firms in the country, including ManpowerGroup and Trenkwalder, have recently spoken out against legislative changes which will charge employment agencies a sum of €110 on the termination of a contract with temporary workers – even if the worker finds permanent employment elsewhere.

Chairman of the association of employment agencies at the WKO, Erich Glaser, told Staffing Industry Analysts that this was “unjust” and a “punishment” to employment agencies in the country which could overall have detrimental effects on the national staffing industry as some firms may start to relocate abroad. He said in other countries, such as Germany, staffing firms actually receive a premium pay when temporary workers are taken over as permanent staff, which will be the complete opposite case in Austria.

The outlook for the temporary staffing industry this year is “moderate”, he said. The latest statistics from August last year show that there were 75,000 temporary workers in the country, most of which were employed in the industrial sector.

The new law is part of the Government’s austerity package. Mr Glaser confirmed that the new legislation will come into force on 1 January 2013 and that there was nothing his association could do about it. He said the new campaign, which follows on from a similar one last year, was intentionally launched at this point in time to draw attention to the legal changes lying ahead.    

He also pointed out that temporary employment was often viewed as “the third class” player on the Austrian labour market and the campaign aims to change this by giving temporary staffing more recognition. 

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