Business regulation in Austria is generally considered to be business friendly. However, bureaucracy is extensive and regulations are complex. Starting a business is not well organized, with long procedures including local courts, the tax office and even the chamber of commerce. All those procedures make setting up a new business in Austria last up to three times longer than the EU average. Furthermore, there is a high paid-in minimum capital of 5,000 euro. Obtaining a construction permit is associated with several very long procedures, taking up to 7.5 months on average; and it could be prolonged due to strict environmental protection regulations. Getting electricity is relatively simple, with only 7 procedures, but it is very expensive. Tax procedures are not overly burdensome, with low
annual number of tax payments and widesepread use of electronic services. Labour regulation is a mixture of flexible and restrictive practices. Hiring is flexible since there are no limitations to fixed-term contracts and their duration, and there are low severance pay and short notice periods. However, there are high premiums for overtime and restrictive regulation on the length of overtime, coupled with priority redundancy rules and reemployment obligations. Social dialogue and collective bargaining are widespread in many industries. There is no legal overall minimum wage, and there is a widespread collective bargaining system concerning minimum wages according to different industries. However, in June 2017, an agreement was made through social dialogue that from 2020 on no collective agreements should offer less than 1 500 euros per month, which in fact has the same effect as a general minimum wage. Sectors with wages below this threshold have, until 2020, to alter their collective bargaining agreements accordingly. Many professional services are strictly regulated via certificates of competence or education requirements, limiting new entrants to the market, especially those from other EU countries. Although it was expected that the reform of the Business Licence Act in 2017 would alleviate this problem, effectively no liberalization took place. Restrictive labour regulation, inefficient government bureaucracy and high tax rates have been identified as the most problematic business factors in 2018.