On March 20, 2020, the Austrian National Council passed the „Gesellschaftsrechtliches COVID-19-Gesetz” (Company Law COVID-19 Act), which expressly enables all company meetings to be held without the physical presence of the participants. This also includes, for example, supervisory board meetings and the general assemblies of stock companies and limited companies.
Not more than half of the participants may only be connected only through audio channels, without using their cameras, since in general the meeting should be in audio as well as video.
So far there have been no regulations in company law in which form to attend the meetings. Especially since prior to the technological progress of the last few decades, which made video conferences easily accessible to everyone, there was no other option than a meeting in person.
The law is now being extended until December 31, 2021. Consequently, online meetings are possible for at least the next year, regardless of whether at the time of the meeting restrictions due to the COVID-19 measures are still in place.
The judicial committee, who proposed this extension, aims to thus give the legislature time to anchor these new regulations, which have proven themselves in practice, permanently in company law after further legal discussion.