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Austria: unemployment benefit payments could be suspended for those refusing a job carrying a Covid-19 vaccination condition
Planet Labor, 22 September 2021, n°12691 - www.planetlabor.com

According to the daily publication Der Standard, Austrian Labour Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) asked the Austrian Employment Agency (AMS), in a letter dated 25 August, to “block unemployment benefits for job seekers who refuse either to apply for a reasonable job on the sole pretext that a vaccination is required or to accept a job for the same reason.” In Austria, more and more companies, especially in the health and social sectors, are requiring new hires to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and the AMS has asked the Labour Ministry to clarify the situation. Going forward, unvaccinated unemployed workers refusing a job on vaccination grounds may see their benefits being suspended for up to six weeks. Speaking to Planet Labor, Caroline Göschl, a Ministry of Labour spokesperson, stressed that the legal situation had not changed. “People registered as unemployed with the AMS are obliged to accept reasonable jobs,” the spokesperson recalled. If they refuse, they risk being sanctioned. In the context of a pandemic, employers are free to impose, within the limits of the law, vaccination against the coronavirus as a condition for employment. “As a general rule, a job is considered reasonable even if the employer requires vaccination,” the spokeswoman continued, adding that this condition does not apply to people who cannot be vaccinated. However, the decision to suspend benefits will be made “on a case-by-case basis.”