Of interest.

Amendment to the Labour Code: Applications for parental leave and new options for flexible working time arrangements

As a result of the adoption of a comprehensive amendment to the Labour Code, which has been in force in its entirety since 1 January 2024, significant changes have been made in the area of labour law. We have briefly introduced these changes through our two-part series of articles here and here.

Beyond the compulsory transposition of two EU directives, efforts to introduce a higher degree of flexibility in the field of labour law have not been left aside, especially in response to the requirements of current practice. In today’s article we will therefore focus on two amended areas that reflect the increasingly emphasised topic of work-life balance, namely the new requirements for parental leave applications and the new possibilities of flexible working time arrangements for caring employees.

Applications for parental leave
Although until the amendment to the Labour Code came into force, employees were not obliged to comply with a mandatory written form when applying for parental leave, in practice this was a common procedure, which was usually regulated in the employer’s internal regulations (for example, in the form of a uniform form). However, this is now changing and, as with, for example, the scheduling of working time for contract workers, the request for parental leave must be made in writing[1].

The amendment also introduces limitations in relation to the deadline for submission, as the application must be submitted at least 30 days in advance, and in addition to the date of commencement, employees must also indicate the period of time they will be using it[2].

Employees can apply for parental leave repeatedly, mainly to extend existing parental leave.

The introduction of the new requirements in relation to parental leave undoubtedly brings benefits for employers, who should find the changes easier, especially in the sometimes erratic process of planning employee departures and finding replacements. To make this statutory process somewhat easier for employees, we recommend that a single application form be created for this purpose.

Increase in parental allowance
In this context, it is also worth mentioning that the conditions for drawing and the amount of parental benefits have also been changed with effect from 1 January 2024[3] .For children born from 1 January 2024, the amount of parental allowance has increased from the original CZK 300,000 to CZK 350,000 (for multiples, the total amount will be CZK 525,000). Another change is the duration of the allowance – until now it was possible to draw parental allowance up to four years of age of the child, now the maximum duration will be reduced to three years.

Flexible working time arrangements
Another area covered by the amendment to the Labour Code concerns flexible working time arrangements for employees caring for a child. The employer’s obligation to take their needs into account when planning their shifts remains in the Labour Code as it was before (namely the provisions of Section 241 et seq. of the Labour Code), but the regulation of this obligation is further amended and extended.

The law classifies pregnant employees, employees caring for a child under 15 years of age or employees caring mainly for a dependent person (in the minimum II degree of dependence) among the so-called caring employees, i.e. persons who are entitled to request shorter working hours or other appropriate adjustment of the fixed weekly working hours or shorter working hours from the employer.

The employer is obliged to comply with the requests of caring employees unless serious operational reasons prevent this. Otherwise, he is obliged by law to provide written reasons for the refusal.

In this context, the amendment also introduces the institution of restoration or partial restoration of the original scope of working time. It allows an employee whose request for shorter working hours or other appropriate adjustment of the fixed weekly working time or shorter working hours has been previously granted to request in writing to the employer that the scope of the original weekly working time be restored or partially restored.

However, in the case of a request for renewal, the employer is no longer obliged to comply as in the case of an initial request. However, it must again give reasons in writing for its refusal.

How to do it in practice?
The above changes are undoubtedly associated with a higher level of administration. It is recommended to set up the documentation in relation to this topic effectively in advance, in particular to facilitate the process by means of suitably prepared model applications which will be available to employees in order to exercise their legal rights, if necessary.

It is also important not to underestimate the justifications mentioned, which should be based mainly on operational or economic reasons; the employer should be particularly wary of whether the justification “admits” discriminatory or other unlawful conduct.

One of the objectives of the amendment to the Labour Code – to increase the legal certainty of both employees and employers – is reflected both in the new obligations related to the application for parental leave and in the mandatory justifications in the event of refusal of the request of caring employees for flexible adjustment of working time or for restoration of its original scope.

Although at first glance these are not major changes that would be in any way risky for employers, it is important to prepare for them properly, especially by preparing the aforementioned standardised internal documentation, not only to speed up the whole process but also to ensure transparent and traceable communication between employees and employers.

Should you have any questions about the amendment to the Labour Code or need assistance with updating your existing employment documentation, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

[1] According to Section 196(1) of the Labour Code.

[2] According to Section 196(2) of the Labour Code.

[3] Act No. 407/2023 Coll., an Act amending Act No. 117/1995 Coll., on State Social Support, as amended, Act No. 73/2011 Coll., on the Labour Office of the Czech Republic and on Amendments to Related Acts, as amended, Act No. 111/2006 Coll., on Aid in Material Need, as amended, and some other acts.


Mgr. Kateřina Lansdorfová, junior lawyer – lansdorfova@plegal.cz

Mgr. Radim Šulc, junior lawyer – sulc@plegal.cz

Ráchel Kouklíková, legal assistant – kouklikova@plegal.cz

Mgr. Jakub Málek, managing partner – malek@plegal.cz




2. 2. 2024