Thursday, March 08, 2007

the law in Austria

So, finally I have done a little bit of reading up on the law, as far as my status as pregnant employee is concerned. And good thing too, for today I was assaulted by my boss with the prospect of *gasp!* overtime!

Let me elaborate:

A pregnant woman, by law, is protected from being fired or losing her job for any other reason (layoffs, etc.). If her job ishard physical labor, all-day standing up, or if she is exposed to heat, cold, wetness, fumes, noise, etc. her employer is obligated to offer her an alternative position during her pregnancy, that is child-safe. Should he be unable to do so, he is obligated to send her home during the duration of her pregnancy, while still having to pay her the full amount of her paycheck.

Overtime is prohibited, a total amount of 40 work-hours per week may not be exceeded. Work on Sundays and holidays is forbidden too, as well as working nightshifts.

After the completion of the 5th month of pregnancy, the woman is not allowed to work under time pressure and/or pressure to perform anymore.

8 weeks before the estimated date of birth, a woman is forbidden to work under any circumstances, as well as 8 weeks after giving birth. She still collects the full amount of her paychecks during that time.

After that time, a woman can choose to stay at home with her child for 2 years while collecting monthly "motherhood" and child support payments amounting to about € 600 per month. Should she choose to stay home for only 1 1/2 years or split her 2 years in half with her husband (mother stays with child for 1 year, father stays with child for one year), the amount of money she collects every month is a bit higher.

Her employer is obligated to take her back once she comes back from maternity leave.

In my case? I will start my official period of maternity leave at the end of August. I plan on using up my entire 5 weeks of paid yearly vacation before that, meaning I will stop working at the end of July. Until then I will take it slow, despite the fact that one major production is coming up in spring, and I will drop my graphic stylus at exactly 4:30PM and go home, instead of pulling 12-16 hour days, and working weekends in order to get the production done, as I have done numerous times before.

If my boss tries to stress me with this production, I will point him to the law passage that says that I am not allowed to work under time pressure/preformance pressure anymore, for this'll happen just around the time when I'll end my 5th month of pregnancy.

And the reason I am so giddy about this already is that I just talked with him on the phone, and he asked me, all panic-like, if I think that I'll be able to finish the current magazine on time without pulling overtime in the last days. I answered, very calmly, "No. I don't think so." He started to freak out, talking about long shifts and working weekends in order to be able to observe the printing deadline. I listened to his yap-yap-yapping, and then I asked him, equally calm: "Are you aware that by law I am not allowed to do overtime anymore?"

There was a long pause. A long pause. I grinned. Finally: "No, I wasn't aware of that."

I think you can imagine how the conversation ended after that. :)

Gotta love Austria... I do so rarely enough, but in times like these, I wanna be nowhere else in the world. Well, maybe in Norway, that is, for I heard that stay-at-home-moms collect regular paychecks for their work there.


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