Austria: “3-G” rule will apply in Austrian workplaces from November 1, 2021

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In short

Showing so-called “3-G” proof – that is, proof that you have been vaccinated, tested or cured – is already commonplace in many areas of life. Many companies have already introduced a “3-G” rule for employees on a voluntary basis. From November 1, 2021, this will now be mandatory to access the workplace. What counts as evidence and its period of validity is regulated in detail in the Third Austrian Ordinance on COVID-19 Measures. We have answered the questions most important to you below.

What measures should my company take now?

Companies are responsible for following the “3-G” rule. It is therefore very important to put in place an effective control system. This does not mean that access control must now take place at the entrance, but the controls must be effective and adapted to the operating conditions of the workplace. In addition, for workplaces with more than 51 employees, a COVID-19 prevention concept must be implemented and an appropriate COVID-19 manager must be appointed. Finally, it is recommended that workplaces be equipped with antigen self-tests (see below).

Which employees must provide “3-G” proof?

Essentially, it affects all employees who do not work from home. However, if employees who work from home come to the office on an exceptional basis or to attend a client appointment, they must also provide a “3-G” proof.

Can we still make a “1-G” rule (ie, vaccinated only) now?

In principle, this is still possible. However, as the general “3-G” rule is now applicable, it is much more difficult for employers to impose sanctions on non-compliant employees.

What do we do if an employee still cannot provide “3-G” proof?

There will be a transitional period until November 14, 2021, during which the wearing of an FFP-2 mask is sufficient without “3-G” proof. After that, employees can no longer enter the workplace without “3-G” proof, even with a mask. In exceptional circumstances, an antigen self-test may be performed under supervision. Alternatively, employees must be sent home.

Can non-compliant employees be subject to employment sanctions?

If employees do not comply with the request for justification of one of the “3-Gs” without a valid reason, they may be subject to ordinary dismissal or unpaid leave. In addition, immediate termination is possible when, for example, the employee persistently refuses to work due to his inability to provide “3G” proof. The employer is not obligated to accept that employees perform their work from home as an alternative.

What are the fines for failing to comply with the “3-G” rule?

Employers and employees are responsible for compliance; however, only employers are responsible for the controls. Non-compliance can result in administrative fines of up to 500 euros for employees and up to 3,600 euros for employers.

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