A Barrier-Free Workplace
As a public employer, WU is committed to setting an example for other organizations, especially with regard to diversity. To live up to this commitment, WU has drawn up Guidelines for the Inclusion of Employees with Disabilities. These guidelines define specific goals for WU’s HR management to make sure that WU is a barrier-free workplace. This includes measures for raising awareness of disability-related issues, particularly among management staff, who play a key role for the inclusion of employees with disabilities in the day-to-day work done at WU.
Below you can find an overview of some of the steps WU is taking to strengthen the inclusion of employees with disabilities:
In the 2017 summer semester, WU started offering tutoring jobs and positions at service units that are specifically advertised and awarded to people with disabilities.
WU’s commitment to strengthening the inclusion of people with disabilities is enshrined in our fundamental strategic documents. In 2017, it was for instance included in the WU Strategic Plan.
In 2016, WU relaunched its website, adding comprehensive web accessibility features.
A room equipped with assistive technologies is available in the WU University Library.
We are constantly holding events and posting articles on the WU Blog and in the WU Bulletin to raise awareness of issues related to disability and accessibility.
Why it is important to obtain registered beneficiary status
People with a degree of disability of 50% or more (§ 2  of the Disabled Persons Employment Act [Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz, BEinstG]) can obtain an official notification from the authorities that confirms their disability. In German, these notifications are called “Feststellungsbescheid.” You can apply for such a notification with the Sozialministeriumservice branch office in your province.
In addition to the minimum degree of disability, another requirement for obtaining an official notification is Austrian citizenship or citizenship of an EU or EEA member country. People who have been granted asylum in Austria and third-country nationals who hold a work permit are also eligible to apply (cf. Sozialministeriumservice of the City of Vienna).
Once you have received this official notification, you have the status of a registered beneficiary under the Disabled Persons Employment Act. Registered beneficiary status offers certain advantages for you personally and for the company or organization that employs you (cf. Sozialministeriumservice or Chamber of Labor).
Advantages for employees
Increased protection against dismissal
Before a registered beneficiary can be dismissed, the employer has to obtain approval from the Disabilities Committee at the Sozialministeriumservice authority. This increased protection against dismissal becomes effective after six months if the employment contract was signed in the time up until and including December 31, 2010. For employment contracts signed on January 1, 2011 or later, the increased protection becomes effective after a period of four years (§ 8 of the Disabled Persons Employment Act).
Financial aid and support
Registered beneficiaries can obtain financial support for covering expenses for assistive workplace equipment or workplace assistance (§ 6  of the Disabled Persons Employment Act).
Extended annual leave
Extended annual leave is granted if provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, an operational agreement, or the applicable employment regulations. At WU, the following regulations apply with regard to extended annual leave for registered beneficiaries:
Employees under the Collective Bargaining Agreement for University Staff (§ 19 ): Depending on the degree of disability, annual leave is extended by 2-5 days
Civil servants (§ 72 of the Civil Servants Employment Act): Depending on the degree of disability, annual leave is extended by 16–40 hours (= 2-5 days)
Contractual employees (§ 27b of the Contractual Employees Act): Depending on the degree of disability, annual leave is extended by 16–40 hours (= 2-5 days)
Income tax exemption
People with a degree of disability of 25% or more can apply for an income tax exemption with the appropriate fiscal authority.
Please note: If you would like to return your notification and revoke your registered beneficiary status, e.g. because you are planning a career move, you can do so at the appropriate Sozialministeriumservice branch office in your province.
Advantages for employers
Financial support for people with disabilities, e.g. trainees with disabilities
Fulfilling the statutory quota for the employment of registered beneficiaries under the Disabled Persons Employment Act
Please note: Holders of an identity card for disabled persons are not automatically classified as registered beneficiaries under the Disabled Persons Employment Act.
Our statutory obligations as an employer
All employers in Austria are required by law to employ a certain number of registered beneficiaries under the Disabled Persons Employment Act. Pursuant to § 1 (1) of the act, Austrian employers with a workforce of 25 employees or more are obligated to hire one registered beneficiary for every 25 employees. Employers that fail to meet this quota are required to make a compensation payment.
WU is striving to fulfill its statutory quota. But, even more importantly, WU also wants to live up to its social responsibility and to set an example for other educational institutions to follow. For this reason, we are working hard at WU to increase the employment of people with disabilities.
Note: Civil servants with disabilities who are registered beneficiaries cannot be counted towards the statutory quota because they are employees of the federal government, not of WU.
Tax advantages for employers who fulfill their statutory employment quota
Exemption from municipal tax
Exemption from contributions to the Family Relief Fund (Familienlastenausgleichsfonds)
Exemption from Economic Chamber dues
Exemption from subway tax (only applicable in Vienna)
Support programs and financial aid
WAG - Assistenzgenossenschaft
The organization WAG Assistenzgenossenschaft helps people with disabilities find appropriate personal assistance. Personal assistants provide support to people with disabilities in all areas where they need help. This may for instance include the following activities:
Accompanying people with disabilities on their way to work (e.g. opening doors on the subway for a wheelchair user)
Assistance at the workplace (e.g. carrying heavy bags of flour for a baker who uses a wheelchair)
Assistance in everyday life (shopping, visits to the doctor, household chores, etc.)
Assistance for students (e.g. accompanying a student with severely impaired vision to the library)
Please click here for further details and contact information (in German).
The employment assistance organization Wien Work offers advisory services to companies that are employing or are planning to employ people with disabilities. It also assists people with disabilities in finding employment, dealing with crises (e.g. imminent job loss), or starting a business. Please click here for further information about Wien Work (in German).