Notification of changes which are currently being prepared – Labour Code
We are writing to let you know about the latest developments in the field of labour law. Given the importance of the changes which are being prepared, we would like to briefly draw your attention to them before their adoption into Czech legislation.
Amendment to the Labour Code – transposition of EU directives and other news
It is expected that Act No. 262/2006 Coll., the Labour Code (hereinafter referred to only as the “Labour Code”) will be amended, the primary intention of this being to ensure transposition of two EU directives. It will also, for example, expand the information obligations of employers. This will have a significant impact on the legal regulation of agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship and will also represent a certain partial extension of the rights of employees who are parents or carers. The deadline for the Czech Republic to transpose the two directives has already passed, namely 1 and 2 August 2022, respectively, so it is expected that the amendment will be adopted in the near future.
The proposed content of the amendment is also, in view of the requirements of legal practice, regulation of remote work and also streamlining delivery of documents in employment relations. The draft amendment, submitted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, is currently undergoing inter-ministerial comment procedure (with the deadline for comments being 11 October 2022).
TPWC Guidelines (Working conditions)
We would like to mention in general terms selected significant changes which are taken into account in the draft amendment to the Labour Code, from the first directive, namely Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union (“TPWC Directive”):
- Extension of the employer’s information obligation towards the employee. The draft amendment takes into account the requirements of the directive concerning extension of the employer’s obligation to inform the employee in writing at the moment of commencement of the employment relationship about certain exhaustively listed facts.
- Shortening of the deadline for the employer’s information obligation. It is proposed that the time limit for compliance with the obligation to provide inform about the above-mentioned facts be shortened from the current 1 month from the moment of commencement of the employment relationship to 7 days from the moment of commencement of the employment relationship, and about any change thereto at the latest on the date of their effectiveness.
- Changes in the legal regulation of agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship. It is proposed that the employer be obliged to determine the employee’s schedule of working hours in agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship. It is also proposed that the provisions of the Labour Code governing working hours and periods of rest, provisions governing any obstacles to work, the right to leave, the right to additional payments and, in certain cases, the right of the employee to request proper justification for dismissal, apply to employees working under such agreements.
- The possibility of moving to a more secure form of employment. It is proposed that, under the conditions set out in the Labour Code, the possibility for an employee to request in writing of the employer that he/she be employed in an employment relationship if his/her legal relations based on agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship lasted for a period of at least 6 months in total over the course of the preceding 12 months, and the obligation of the employer to provide the employee a justified written response within a certain deadline be enshrined in the Labour Code.
The proposed changes are intended to ensure an appropriate level of transparency and predictability as regards the working conditions of employees.
WLB Guidelines (Work-life balance)
From the second directive, namely Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU (“WLB Directive”), we have selected the following issues which the draft amendment addresses. This usually concerns only partial, supplementary or clarifying modifications:
- – Employee rights relating to parental leave. For example, a written form of application for parental leave is proposed, which should be delivered to the employer usually 14 days in advance.
- The right to request flexible working arrangements enabling employees who are parents and carers to provide such care. For example, it is newly proposed that the employer be obliged to allow performance of work outside the employer’s workplace (i.e. remote work within the meaning of the amended Section 317 of the Labour Code), unless serious operational reasons or the nature of the work performed prevent this, as well as the right of an employee who has been allowed flexible working arrangements to request the restoration of his/her original working conditions.
- Care leave. It is proposed that the group of persons who will be entitled to care benefits when caring for a sick family member be extended to include employees working on the basis of alternative types of agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship and those in small-scale employment.
Other proposed amendments
In addition to transposition of the above-mentioned directives, the draft amendment to the Labour Code also responds to demands which have arisen in practice.
Remote work (Home Office). Section 317 of the Labour Code, which should now explicitly regulate remote work, could undergo substantial changes. It is proposed that the obligation to conclude a written agreement on remote work be enshrined in the Labour Code in the case of work performed from a location other than the employer’s workplace and that a list of essential elements of such an agreement be determined. It is also proposed that remote work may be ordered in the specified exceptional cases. In relation to the requirements arising from practice, administrative simplification of provision of reimbursements to employees is proposed, by providing that the law regulates the form of reimbursement in a flat rate for a certain range of usual costs; other costs, in particular incidental costs, would continue to be proven by the employee to the employer for the purpose of reimbursement. Other rights and obligations are also regulated (e.g. the employer’s obligation to ensure contact with other employees so that the employee does not feel isolated).
Delivery. Substantial changes are proposed in delivery of documents, in particular the use of delivery via an electronic communications network or service as an effective means of communication also in employment relations.
The proposed text of the amendment to the Labour Code and the options described may be changed during the course of the legislative process and for this reason, we will be happy to inform you about the applicable text and other details after adoption of the amendment to the Labour Code.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.