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Brussels, 27 January 2011

Part-Time Work / Fixed-Term Employment: Commission asks Austria to comply with EU law for contractual workers in the public sector in Tyrol

The European Commission has asked Austria to adopt all the measures necessary to comply with the relevant EU legislation and to ensure that contractual workers in the public sector, who work less than 12 hours a week, as well as those on fixed-term contracts running for less than 6 months, receive the same treatment as their colleagues who are employed permanently and full-time. The request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Austria now has two months to comply with it. The Commission may decide to refer it to the Court of Justice of the EU if action to ensure compliance is not taken.

Council Directive 97/81/EC of 15 December 1997 concerning the Framework Agreement on part-time work, concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC and Council Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP require that 'in respect of employment conditions', part-time workers and employees on fixed-term contracts of employment 'shall not be treated in a less favorable manner than comparable full-time workers on permanent contracts of employment, unless different treatment is justified on objective grounds'.

In the case of part-time workers who work less than 12 hours a week, as well as in the case of fixed-term workers whose employment contracts run for less than 6 months, the Austrian Bundesland of Tyrol is not ensuring this protection. The Contract Workers Act of the Bundesland Tyrol (L-VBG) of 8 November 2000 excludes these types of employment from the protection against discrimination foreseen by the Directive and the Framework Agreement.

The action of the European Commission seeks to remove these exclusions and to ensure that these employees are also covered by the protection against discrimination foreseen by EU law.

The action is the result of a complaint from AK Tirol (the Tyrolean Chamber of Wage and Salary Earners, which is the statutory body responsible for representing the interests of employees in Tyrol at local and national level). It follows the decision of the EU's Court of Justice in the case C-486/08 on the same issues, following a question from the Landesgericht Innsbruck (Austria).

Further information

For more information on the infringement procedures: MEMO/11/45

Fixed-Term Employment:

Part-Time Work:

Case C-486/08:

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