Of interest.

Significant amendment to the Czech Labour Code – changes and status

According to the intention of the Government of the Czech Republic a significant amendment to Act No. 262/2006 Coll., Labour Code, as amended (hereinafter the “Labour Code“), should have already been adopted, with its effectiveness as of July 1, 2019, respectively in the case of provisions about annual leave as of January 1, 2020 (hereinafter the “Amendment“). The purposes of the Amendment shall be mainly adapting the Labour Code to the current trends and needs of practice. In addition, the Amendment shall bring changes of legislative-technical character, such as the unification of terminology or the implementation of EU law.

Unfortunately, the Amendment has not been presented yet to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to initiate the legislative process.[1] It is apparently inevitable to assume at least the partial shift in effective date of the Amendment. Given the importance of the intended Amendment and its impact on the setting of the labour relationship, we would like to inform you about its most important aspects.

Annual Leave

The current legal regulation of the annual leave pursuant to Section 211 et seq. of the Labour Code is one of the most criticized parts of the whole Labour Code.[2] The Amendment is trying to revise this institute comprehensively to better reflect the fundamental principles of the labour law.

Fundamental change in the conditions for the entitlement to annual leave and its use is enriched in the Amendment. Namely, the condition of sixty days of work for the same employer for entitlement to partial annual leave would be abandoned and its replaced with weekly working hours, from which the duration of annual leave would be derived. Furthermore, the Amendment adjusts leave reduction for an excused absence of an employee at work and allows the transfer of part of the not taken annual leave to the next calendar year.

The new annual leave concept, based on weekly working hours, is better suited to the real time worked by the employee, which will be appreciated especially by employees with irregularly scheduled shifts, eventually those who have changed their working hours.

Delivery of documents

Perhaps the most important point of the whole Amendment is the change in the regulation of documents delivery in labour relationship, especially those documents that must be delivered into employee’s own hands (such as documents concerning the creation, modification or termination of an employment, or agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship, discharge from a managerial position, remuneration, such as a wage statement and a salary statement from one’s employer and a report of temporarily incapable insured person’s breach of his regimen). The process of delivering documents by the employer should be greatly simplified, thus responding to practical problems that complicated delivery.

The Amendment introduces the primary status of delivering documents to employees into their own hands at the workplace, secondarily (if the delivery at the workplace failed) through the operator of postal services, the network or the electronic communications service or data box. Employees would be newly expressively obliged to inform the employer in writing of their delivery address.

In the case that the employee would not receive the document through the postal service operator and does not subsequently collect it within following 15 days, the document is going to be considered as delivered to the employee on the very last day of the 15-days period. Simultaneously the difficulties with the delivery of documents to an employer who is not physically present at the place of residence shall fall off, because the document shall be considered as delivered to such an employer on the day on which the attempted service of the document was unsuccessful.

Establishing of shared workplace

The Amendment newly lays down the provision of Section 317a of the Labour Code, according to which an employer with two or more part-timers (employees with shorter weekly working hours), who are performing the same type of work, could agree that these employees would “rotate” at one workplace. The sum of their weekly working time should not exceed the fixed weekly working time.

Such an agreement would have to be concluded in writing and would have to include closely specified rules on distributing working hours. The agreement could be terminated by written agreement of the parties or by termination of any of the parties, even without giving a reason; the notice period shall be 15 days.

The aim of the Amendment is to exclude the obligation to keep such employees on standby at all times and to guarantee them a form of flexible pattern of work that should help to harmonize family and work life of employees. We assume that this institute will also contribute for a greater efficiency and satisfaction of these employees.

Minimum wage and its valorisation

Another fundamental change should be a change in the concept of minimum wage and the lowest levels of guaranteed wages, as a firm mechanism for their valorisation should be introduced. The basic monthly minimum wage should be from January 1 till December 31 of that calendar year 0.5 times the average gross monthly nominal wage in the national economy for the preceding calendar year.[3] The basic hourly minimum wage would then be derived therefrom.

This would mean a regular increase of the minimum wage, while at the same time establishing transparent and in advance known conditions. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs should set the basic minimum wage rates for the following calendar year until October 31 of that recent calendar year.

The next innovation in this area is the strengthening of protection against unduly low remuneration for work through a guaranteed wage, as it is proposed to newly extend it even for agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship.

Other interesting changes

More strict conditions shall be set for the transfer of activities or task, or part thereof, from one employer to another employer, as well as for giving a notice of termination by employee under Section 51a of the Labour Code.

Furthermore, it is proposed to increase the one-off compensation of surviving close relatives in the event of death of an employee as a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease (from current CZK 240,000 to CZK 340,000).

The Amendment also aims to abolish the so-called “additionally agreed overtime work in health care” (see Section 93a of the Labor Code), which means overtime work in continuous operations in connection with the reception, treatment and care of patients or in connection with providing pre-hospital urgent care in hospitals, other in-patient health care facilities and health care facilities of health care rescue services performed by a physician (doctor of medicine), dentist or pharmacist or by a health care worker of paramedic health care professions working in continuous operations.

Finally, according to the Amendment the employer should be obliged to allow employees even after their return from the parental leave (currently it only applies to return from the maternity leave) to their original work and workplace.

Conclusion

Considering the importance of the topics of the Amendment, relatively demanding negotiations during the legislative process in the Parliament of the Czech Republic may be foreseen, which will certainly be linked to a number of motions to amend the Amendment. Therefore, the final version of the Amendment, and thus the new wording and provisions of the Labour Code, cannot be estimated at this moment in detail.

If the Amendment is approved and published, it would be one of the most significant amendments to the Labour Code. The adoption of the Amendment has been stuck in “deadlock” in recent months though, as the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic has not yet submitted the Amendment to the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, even though the remarks procedure has already been completed.

We will keep you informed about the legislative process and effectiveness of the Amendment, as well as about further development in the whole area of labour law.

 

Mgr. Ondřej Čala, junior lawyer – cala@plegal.cz

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

www.peytonlegal.cz

 

15. 05. 2019

 

[1] More info: https://apps.odok.cz/veklep-detail?pid=ALBSB3QAMAG7 More info: https://apps.odok.cz/veklep-detail?pid=ALBSB3QAMAG7

[2] Compare e.g. HŮRKA, P.: Česká úprava vzniku práva na dovolenou a potřebnost její novelizace. Soukromé právo, Praha: Wolters Kluwer ČR, a. s., 2018, č. 5, s. 20-24. ISSN 2533-4239.

[3] For the calculation, the last figure of the Czech Statistical Office on the average gross monthly nominal wage in the national economy for recalculated number of employees published until September 30 of the year in which the minimum wage calculation is made would be used as a standard.

 

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