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Do I need a works agreement for teamecho?

Generally, the introduction of teamecho does not require the approval of the works council, but we recommend a joint approach to avoid conflicts.

According to Austrian law, works agreements are "written agreements concluded by the company owner on the one hand and the works council (works committee, central works council, group representation) on the other in matters whose regulation is reserved for the works agreement by law or collective agreement" (§ 29 ArbVG - freely translated by us without responsibility). If there is no elected works council in a company, no works agreement can be concluded.

The Austrian Labor Constitution Act contains a taxative enumeration of which measures of the company owner require the consent of the works council in order to be legally effective. This list includes a possible measure that could be related to teamecho. Paragraph 1(2) deals with the introduction of "personnel questionnaires, provided that these do not merely contain general information on the person and information on the professional requirements for the intended use of the employee" (§ 96 ArbVG - freely translated by us without responsibility).

What the legislator specifically means by the term "personnel questionnaire" is not explained in more detail either in the text of the law or in the legislative materials. Dohr et al. approach the term in their legal argumentation with reference to other labor law experts. 

Rulings of the Supreme Court (OGH - Oberster Gerichtshof) in Austria in this matter can be viewed here: OGH, Rechtssatznr. RS0119612 and here: OGH, Rechtssatznr. RS0119613.

teamecho represents a company climate analysis that does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the results of individual employees, as survey responses are stored anonymously, i.e. not traceable to individual persons (for more information, see: Are survey results really anonymous in teamecho?). Socio-demographic queries, which would theoretically enable traceability to individual persons, are also not provided. For this reason, we take the well-founded view that the introduction of teamecho does not normally require the consent of the works council.

Nevertheless, we recommend that the works council be involved in the decision-making process regarding the introduction of teamecho. Early information avoids conflicts and helps to ensure that the introduction is supported equally by the employer and the employees, which in turn has a positive impact on the long-term success of the project.

If teamecho is used in a different way in an individual case than is intended in the standard application, a different situation may arise if necessary. In any case, we recommend obtaining legal advice for a final assessment of the need for a company agreement.


Disclaimer: The information and representations on this page refer to Austrian law and are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal information or legal advice.