In Austria, managers (managing directors, management board members) are in principle not liable for the liabilities of the company. Such a liability can only be considered if legal regulations expressly prescribe this or if the managing director fails to comply with his or her duties of care or violates legal regulations.
Generally, the manager is only liable vis-à-vis the company (internal liability); he or she is only liable vis-à-vis external third parties in exceptional cases where his/her misconduct has been of a particularly blatant nature (external liability). Managers and members of the board of directors are (in principle) liable vis-à-vis the company without limitation for any damage they have caused as a result of unlawful and culpable conduct (action or omission).
Liability vis-à-vis third parties may arise in the following cases
- grossly negligent impairment of the interests of creditors
- fraudulent preference – payments made after the date on which the insolvency occurred
- delay in filing for insolvency
- tax receivables and social security contributions
- failure to apply for reorganisation proceedings despite it being presumed there is a need for reorganisation
The current situation hence does not change the liability of the management, although numerous measures have meanwhile been taken and more are still yet to follow to make it easier for the management to deal with the situation which as yet is still completely unknown. Nevertheless, particular caution is required at this stage. It is advisable to obtain up-to-date information on possible subsidies from the federal government, the state, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.
Disclaimer: Although this legal summary has been prepared with the utmost care, we do not assume any liability for the content being correct, complete and up-to-date. Our summary cannot replace legal advice in individual cases. We are at your disposal for specific legal advice.