Sozialministerium - Arbeitsinspektion
Arbeitsinspektion

The protection of particular groups of employees

Alongside the areas covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act and its regulations, such as general occupational safety and health issues, the design of workplaces and work processes, technology, occupational health surveillance, chemicals or the activities of preventive services, there are also regulations on the deployment of employees.

This field is described as the protection of particular groups of employees.

This includes:

  • Working hours and rest periods
  • The employment of children and young people
  • The employment of pregnant and nursing mothers

Working hours and rest periods

The permissible working hours are regulated by the relevant legal provisions. For most employees, the Working Hours Act and the Rest Periods Act apply.

The Working Hours Act regulates the maximum duration of daily and weekly working hours as well as the required breaks within daily working hours and the minimum duration of the rest period after the daily working hours have been completed. The rest periods at weekends and on public holidays are laid down in the Rest Periods Act and the regulation enacted with it.

Normal daily working hours, i.e. without overtime, is eight hours, and the normal weekly working time is 40 hours. If the daily working time is more than six hours, a break of at least 30 minutes has to be provided. This can also be divided up into 2 or 3 shorter breaks. After the end of daily work, employees are entitled to a rest period of at least 11 hours. Employers have to keep records of the working hours completed by employees.

There are special regulations on working hours and rest periods for certain groups of employees, such as bakers, hospital workers, drivers of motor vehicles, young people and pregnant and nursing mothers.

In many cases the social partners can also agree upon special regulations within the prescribed framework. In general this is carried out via collective agreements, and under certain conditions also via company agreements.

The employment of children and young people

The employment of young people is only permissible from the age of 15 onwards. Up to their 18th birthday they are considered to be young persons, and are protected by special regulations. For example, they are not allowed to carry out dangerous work or jobs which exceed their physical capacity. Their working hours are strictly regulated and must not endanger their education.

The employment of pregnant and nursing mothers

There are special regulations to protect pregnant women and nursing mothers. They are not permitted to carry out a range of activities, including those which are accompanied by a particularly high level of danger, which are physically or emotionally strenuous, or during which they are exposed to other strong effects (cold, heat, wet, or agents which endanger their health). If a job entails such working conditions, different work must be found for the employee. If this is not possible, she must be released from her duties. It is not permitted to employ pregnant women in the period between eight weeks before the presumed date of the birth, and for eight weeks after birth.

Employment of pregnant workers, workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (pdf-74 kB)

Last update: 15.07.2016