The Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is working on an amendment to the Czech Labour Code whose draft was unveiled on 29 February 2016. The interdepartmental comments procedure ended on 30 March 2016 so the bill is expected to undergo further modifications. The course of the preparations, comments and new document versions may be followed on the "eKLEP" website that publishes government documents from the so-called legislative process electronic library at: https://odok.cz/portal/veklep/materialy
The 2016 Czech Labour Code amendment is expected to bring greater flexibility in employment relationships, provide greater employee protection as well as to reduce administrative complexity for employers resulting from the Czech Labour Code application.
What changes can we expect from the planned amendment?
1. Introduction of the institute of "senior management employee" (in Czech: vrcholový řídící zaměstnanec)
It is expected to newly introduce the institute of "senior management employees" as a special category of senior employees directly subordinated/reporting to the governing body in case of an employer that is a legal person or to the authorised representative of the employer who is an individual. It will also specify the category of their directly subordinated senior employees. In addition to an agreement with the employer, the criteria for being included in this category also include the average amount of earnings that will be determined in a government regulation on an annual basis.
The purpose of the new regulation is to give an option to senior management employees to organise their working time in the extent of 48 hours per week as needed, even on bank or public holidays, but they will no longer be allowed to charge their overtime hours and other wage supplements.
2. Trade union plurality
There will also be a change in the collective bargaining at employers having several trade union organisations. This will strengthen democratic principles. According to one of the alternatives, employees will be given an option to influence the situation in case of any dispute of several trade union organisations.
The Czech Labour Code amendment also requires an employee's consent to any reassignment. This consent is not required now.
4. Passage of rights and obligations arising under Czech employment relationships
If an employee gives notice due to the passage of rights and obligations arising under employment relationships or due to the passage of the exercise of rights and obligations arising under employment relationships within fifteen days from the date on which s/he has learned about such passage, his/her employment will be terminated no later than on the day preceding the day of passage of rights and obligations. And, if the rights and obligations or the exercise of rights and obligations were passed without any notification to the employee no later than thirty days prior to such passage, the employee may give 15-day notice within two months from the date of such passage.
The new regulation also specifies the terms and conditions of the passage of rights and obligations arising under employment relationships.
5. Regulation of mass redundancies under Czech Labour Code
The regulation of mass redundancies reacts to the development in the case-law of the European Court of Justice. In case of any mass redundancies, the number of people to be affected by mass redundancies should always be assessed by individual parts of the employer, if any.
The new Czech Labour Code amendment also sets forth a duty to provide the trade union organisation and the employee council in certain cases with a social plan in writing that must contain information on the reasons for redundancies, the number of those to be laid off, their professions, etc.
6. Changes in agreements outside the main employment
According to the Czech Labour Code amendment, compliance with the maximum permitted extent of working time should be assessed only on the basis of 26 weeks instead of the current 52.
The employer must keep records of the hours actually worked, provide time to rest, and the employee working under an agreement to work (in Czech: dohoda o pracovní činnosti) will have the statutory holiday entitlement.
7. Working time
The working time account and flexible working hours will be regulated under a common title, "Special Working Regimens". For instance, changes will affect the assessment of overtime hours or occurrence of obstacles at work.
8. Stress and harassment prevention
When adopting measures aimed at the prevention of risks, the employer will have to follow the general preventive principles, also with regard to stress and harassment prevention. However, the Czech Labour Code does not specify any method to verify whether or not stress occurred at work.
The new holiday regulation has been worked out in two alternatives, with the first not changing the general holiday concept but introducing particular changes only. The other variant, on the contrary, changes the principle of the creation of the holiday entitlement as well as the method of drawing holiday; it abandons the concept of calculating the days worked and assumes the concept of holiday granted on the basis of the number of weeks worked; i.e. an employee is entitled to 1/52 of holiday for each week actually worked to which the employee would otherwise be entitled for the entire year.
The employee will have 15 days to collect an undelivered document instead of ten days.
11. Work performance outside the employer's workplace - homeworking
The amendment to the Labour Code is also expected to strengthen employment flexibility by changing the regulation applicable to work performance outside the dedicated workplace. It specifies the terms and conditions and introduces a possible agreement on the working time and patters to be determined by the employee. Consequently, such employee will not have the option to apply certain personal obstacles at work and seek wage or salary compensation. On the other hand, the employer will be obligated to cover certain homeworking costs, i.e. of Internet access, and employers will also be responsible for occupational safety even if the employee works outside the place of work. Employers will also be required to ensure that the employee working outside the place of work has an option to see other employees.
The regulation of teleworking has also been included in accordance with the framework agreement made by social partners at the European level.
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