Following a European Court of Justice (EuGH) ruling, the Austrian governing coalition proposed a half-holiday on Good Friday, sparking criticism from trade unions, opposition parties and churches. Described as “disconnected from reality”, by the NEOs spokesman Gerald Loacker, and a “betrayal of the workers” by SPÖ spokesman Josef Muchitsch, critics claimed it would create more problems than it solved, disadvantaging both employers and part-time workers, as well as those preferenced under current law.
The EuGH had ruled (January) against an Austrian law granting a paid holiday on Good Friday to members of certain Christian denominations, on grounds of religious discrimination. What began as a law suit by a security company employee over €109 – what Christian colleagues had received for work on Good Friday 2015 – reached the higher court due to its wider implications.
To critics, the governing ÖVP-FPÖ proposal looks like “a typical Austrian solution,” said Loacker – traditionally a compromise intended to satisfy all but in the end pleasing no one.
In an announcement early Wednesday morning, Feb 27, it has been declared by the national council that after much deliberation, Good Friday will not be made a public holiday.