Welcome Note of Ondřej Peterka

In the year 2000, my partners and I launched the PETERKA & PARTNERS law firm in Prague, Czech Republic. Over time we developed an ambitious idea - to create an integrated regional law firm, which at first seemed almost impossible. However, after years of dedication and hard work, we became a strong alternative to the global giants and local law firms active in the CEE region through their networks or best friends.

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New Employment measures in Slovakia – reaction to Covid-19 crisis

We would like to inform you that on 2 April 2020, the National Council of the Slovak Republic approved a bill amending the Labour Code and certain other acts. It shall enter into force upon the signature by the President on the day of its declaration in the Collection of Laws.

This amendment comprehensively regulates deviations from the standard provisions of the Labour Code during an extraordinary situation, emergency, or state of emergency and for within two months of their termination.

1. Ordering work from home
The employer is entitled to order the employee to work from home if the character of his/her work allows so.
Likewise, an employee shall have the right to perform work from home if the character of his/her work so permits and there are no serious operational reasons on the part of the employer preventing such manner of performing of work.

2. Wage compensation of 80% of average earnings
If an employee is unable to perform work due to obstacles to work on the part of the employer as resulting from a decision of the competent authority or a declaration of an extraordinary situation, emergency, or state of emergency, they shall be entitled to 80% of their average earnings, in any case not less than minimum wage. The provision of § 142 par. 4 of the Labour Code, according to which the employer can agree with the employees' representatives in such cases on a wage compensation equal to at least 60% of the average earnings, remains unaffected.

3. Scheduling of Working Time
The employer should be able to notify the working shifts more flexibly. According to the bill, it should be sufficient to notify the shifts 2 days in advance (the standard being that the employer notifies the schedule 1 week in advance). Upon agreement with employees, this period may be even shorter.

4. Determination of drawing of paid holiday
The advance period in which the employer must notify the drawing of paid holiday to the employee should be reduced from 7 days (compared to the standard 14 days). For unused holidays carried over from last year, a notice of 2 days in advance shall be sufficient. These periods may be shortened with the agreement of the employee.

5. Absence of employees due to quarantine or isolation
The employer is obliged to excuse an absent employee if he/she is prevented from working due to an important personal obstacle – quarantine or isolation, or care for a sick family member or child. To such employee, the employer shall not provide wage compensation. For the duration of this obstacle, the employer may not give notice to such employee (for the purpose of protection against dismissal, the employee is considered temporarily incapable of work). Upon expiry of the obstacle, the employer is obliged to assign the employee to the same workplace or, if this is not possible, to another job corresponding to the employment contract.

6. Amendment to the Act on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS Act)
The proposed amendment to the OHS Act eliminates, for the duration of the state of emergency, the duty of the employer to familiarise the new/re-assigned employee with occupational health and safety regulations. During the crisis situation, the deadlines for fulfilling certain obligations shall be put on hold if it is not possible to fulfil the respective obligation objectively. However, the health and life of the employee must not be endangered. These obligations must, in principle, be fulfilled as soon as possible and no later than 1 month after the end of the crisis situation.

7. Amendment to the Social Insurance Act
This amendment extends the support period for receiving unemployment benefits, which would expire during a crisis situation, by 1 month. The Government may regulate the conditions for the payment of unemployment benefits during the crisis situation and for the period of two months after the end of the crisis.

The amendment also grants entitlement to nursing benefits to persons who are sickness-insured whose parental leave ends during a crisis situation and the need to provide full-time and personal care remains.

8. Amendment to the Employment Services Act
This amendment supplements the previous amendment to this Act, which introduced a contribution to support the maintenance of employment. Fulfillment of the conditions for granting the contribution, which are in particular the fulfillment of the employer's tax and levy obligations, and non-infringement of the prohibition on illegal employment, will be proved by the applicant's affidavit. For the employer to whom the contribution is to be granted and which must be registered in the public sector partner register, this obligation shall be deemed to have been fulfilled by 31.12.2020.

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