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Paid leave for pregnant women during the pandemic extended in Austria

Written by
Schima Mayer Starlinger, a modern, service-oriented law firm in Austria.
Pregnant women in Austria will still be entitled to paid leave if their work involves close contact with other people until 30 September 2021, unless or until they are fully vaccinated.

1. The Austrian parliament decided on 17 June 2021 that the COVID-19 based regulation regarding the possibility of special paid leave for pregnant women will be extended until 30 September 2021.This special paid leave applies to pregnant women from the 14th week of pregnancy who have physical contact with other people (whether other employees or external people) during work due to the higher health risks for pregnant employees in connection with COVID-19. Employers are required to protect pregnant employees from this contact by changing their working conditions or transferring them to another workplace as far as possible; they can also consider asking pregnant employees to work from home. Otherwise, the pregnant employee is entitled to paid leave of absence. In this case, employers will be reimbursed for the associated costs (including social insurance payments and taxes) by the health insurance carrier (up to the maximum social insurance contribution basis, which is currently EUR 5,550). The entitlement to this special paid leave generally ends at the start of the prohibition on working before giving birth (eight weeks before the due date); from this time the employee is entitled to maternity pay from the state. 

 2. Pregnant women who are already fully immunised(because they have received both vaccinations before 30 June 2021) or as soon as they are fully immunised after this date, are excluded from the (further) possibility of special paid leave. This exemption also applies to pregnant employees who are already on COVID-19-related paid leave. In addition, the employer must be notified by the pregnant employee 14 days in advance of the date when the full vaccination protection/immunisation will take effect. 

3. However, the specific paid leave regulations for at-risk groups in connection withCOVID-19 will expire on 30 June 2021. This means that after 30 June, employees who belong to this particularly vulnerable group of people (as defined by the relevant legal regulations based on concrete medical criteria) and who do not have the option of home office work will no longer be released from their duty to work while keeping full pay reimbursed by the state.  



Birgit Vogt-Majarek
Partner - Austria
Schima Mayer Starlinger
Lisa Hittinger
Associate - Austria
Schima Mayer Starlinger