The Proposed Amendment to the Labour Code

11. 8. 2016

The Labour Code is going to change substantially in 2017. As the author of the new amendment, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs plans to introduce some brand new legal concepts and a number of important changes.

In line with the new developments in this field as well as the recent practice of the courts, the amendment aims to increase the flexibility of employment relations, to boost the protection of the employees, and to reduce the paperwork imposed on the employers.

In particular, the changes will significantly affect the following areas: the manner of leave calculation, where the calculation based on days worked should be replaced by a calculation based on hours worked per week; the regulation of collective dismissals which is to be harmonised with the case law of the EU Court of Justice; and also the regulation of agreements to perform work outside a standard employment relationship, for which the new amendment will introduce guaranteed rest periods, working hours account, statutory right to a leave, and better protection of remuneration for such work (the remuneration stipulated in such agreements will be subject to increased regulation by means of guaranteed salary).

In order to support the efforts to harmonise work and family life, the amendment will also specify detailed conditions of work outside the employer's workplace, known as homeworking. The new rules for Homeworking include the possibility to agree on the organisation of working hours by the employees themselves, which in turn means that it will not be possible to claim certain personal obstacles to work or the compensation of wage or salary. The employers will newly be required to pay the costs associated with the communication between the employee and the employer as well as other costs incurred by the employee in the course of performing his or her work; these costs may also be covered by an agreed fixed amount. As employees working at home may experience feelings of isolation, the new amendment further requires the employers to take appropriate actions to prevent such isolation, such as to organise gatherings with colleagues at the workplace (provided the employee wishes to participate).

The proposed amendment also introduces a new, special category of employees which has been missing in the Labour Code so far: the top management. This category includes managerial employees holding the position of the statutory body in case of a juridical person, or the employer in case of a natural person, or the managerial employees reporting directly to such managerial employees provided that their monthly tariff salary amounts at least to CZK 75,000. The amendment should grant to these employees certain exceptions from the general rules regarding the working hours and rest periods, the remuneration, and the obstacles to work. Furthermore, the top management should be exempted from the general provisions regarding the overtime work definition, the stipulation of fixed weekly working hours, the maximum duration of a shift, the scope of overtime work, and the overtime working hours account. The provisions on remuneration or leave compensating overtime work, on remuneration for night work, and on remuneration for working on Saturday and Sunday should not apply to the remuneration of the top management.

The new amendment will also modify the rules of delivery. The employees will be required to notify the employer in writing of their current address which the employer should use for the purposes of delivery by means of postal service providers. Another new delivery rule stipulates that if an employee prevents delivery by refusing to accept it or by failing to cooperate in the delivery, the postman will advise the employee of the consequences of his or her actions but a written record of such advising will no longer be required. This will simplify the entire process compared to the current situation – the obligation to record the advising in writing often complicates the successful delivery of documents to employees.

Other modifications introduced by the new amendment include for example the duties of employers regarding the protection of employees from stress and violence in the workplace.

The proposed extensive amendment has yet to get through the legislative process where some of these new rules may be further adjusted.

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