Lower pay for the same work?

15. 12. 2021

Is it possible for an employer operating in more than one region to provide different pay for the same work in each region? After all, the average wage varies by region. This issue was addressed by the Constitutional Court at the end of this summer.

Specifically, it was a case in which the employer paid mail carriers in the Olomouc Region lower wages than mail carriers assigned to perform the same job in Prague. The employer then attempted to justify the difference in wages by the different socio-economic conditions in the Olomouc Region and Prague, i.e. by claiming that life in Prague is more expensive and that there is a justified need to pay employees in Prague relatively higher wages than employees assigned to do the same job in the Olomouc Region.

However, the Constitutional Court disagreed with the employer’s argumentation, pointing out that the Labour Code stipulates that employees are entitled to the same remuneration for the same work; the Labour Code itself provides a list of criteria to assess whether or not the job is actually the same. Socio-economic differences are not among those criteria, so it is not possible to justify the difference in pay between employees in different regions on that basis alone.

The difference in pay can therefore only be justified on the basis of the criteria laid down in the Labour Code, namely the complexity of the work, responsibility borne by the employee, strenuousness of the work, difficulty of the working conditions, work performance and results achieved.

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