Major amendment to the Labour Code 2023
We would like to inform you about the latest developments in the field of labour law.
A major amendment to the Labour Code will come into force on 1 October 2023.
The part of the amendment concerning, in particular, the right to leave of employees working on the basis of agreements on work performed outside the employment relationship and also concerning uninterrupted rest per week will not come into force until 1 January 2024.
The amendment to the Labour Code takes into account the European directives (for the obligation to transpose the directives, see our previous News 4/2022), but at the same time it also addresses other areas in which it introduces many changes of a fundamental nature, some of which are complete novelties in the field of labour law.
Employers should familiarise themselves thoroughly with all the changes so that they can adapt their employment law documents to the amended legislation. We recommend a timely review of employment law documents, as well as a review of employment processes at employers.
Below we present a summary of the most important changes made by the amendment in individual areas:
Information obligations, deadlines
- extending information obligations of the employer regarding the content of the employment relationship towards employees in an employment relationship, as well as extending information obligations towards these employees who are sent to the territory of another state;
- shortening the deadlines for fulfilling the employer’s information obligations to 7 days from the commencement of the employment relationship and on changes to the content of the employment relationship, at the latest on the day when the change takes effect;
- a new information obligation of the employer towards employees working on the basis of an agreement to perform work or agreement to complete a job on their content, as well as a new information obligation towards these employees who are sent to the territory of another state;
- a new deadline for the fulfilment of information obligations for the above-mentioned agreements, namely no later than 7 days from the date of commencement of work; in the case of changes, the deadline applies similarly to changes in the content of the employment relationship.
Agreements on work performed outside the employment relationship
- a new obligation for the employer to schedule the employee’s working hours in advance in a written working time schedule and to inform the employee of the schedule or any changes thereto no later than 3 days before the start of the shift or the period for which the working time is scheduled, unless the employer agrees with the employee on a different period for familiarisation;
- as part of the extension of the legal regulation applicability for the performance of work in the employment relationship to work carried out on the basis of these agreements, they are also subject, inter alia, to the provisions of the Labour Code regulating working hours and rest periods and the provisions regulating any obstacles to work. This results in corresponding new obligations of the employer, including the obligation to provide the employee with time off from work (without compensation for remuneration) in the case of newly admitted obstacles to work granted by the Labour Code;
- newly, the employee is entitled to allowances;
- from 1 January 2024, the employees are also entitled to holidays;
- reimbursement of costs for performance of remote work may only be provided to the employee if the employer has negotiated this right with the employee;
- in certain listed cases, the employee also has the right to request proper justification for termination of the agreement;
- a new right of the employee to request in writing from the employer to be employed in an employment relationship if the employee’s legal relationships based on agreements on work performed outside the employment relationship in the previous 12 months in total have lasted for at least 180 days with the employer, and the Employer´s obligation to provide the employee with a reasoned written response.
- the regulation of employee rest periods, namely uninterrupted daily rest and uninterrupted weekly rest, has been adjusted in line with the current case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union: newly, the employer will be obliged to provide the employee with an uninterrupted daily rest of at least 11 hours within 24 consecutive hours and a juvenile employee with at least 12 hours within 24 consecutive hours;
- in addition, the employer will now be obliged to provide an employee over the age of 18 with at least 24 hours of uninterrupted rest within a week, together with an uninterrupted daily rest, after which it must immediately follow; the total duration of these rest periods forms an uninterrupted rest in a week. The employer will be obliged to provide a juvenile employee within a week with an uninterrupted rest of at least 48 hours per week. The Labour Code again defines exemptions. This change is effective from 1 January 2024.
- for parental leave there are changes to the application for parental leave: a mandatory written form of the application is set out, the application must be submitted at least 30 days before the start of parental leave (unless serious reasons on the employee’s side prevent it) and it must include the duration of parental leave.
Adjustments to working hours
- the provisions regarding appropriate adjustments to working hours (i.e. requests for shorter working hours or other appropriate adjustments to the fixed weekly working hours) for pregnant employees, employees caring for a child under the age of 15 and listed employees who are carers are clarified and supplemented. It is established, inter alia, with certainty that these are shorter working hours pursuant to Section 80 of the Labour Code and that it is also possible to request other appropriate adjustments of shorter working hours, not only of the fixed weekly working hours, and it is added, or explicitly stated, for listed carers that a female employee may also apply for an adjustment of working conditions;
- in connection with the possibility of adjusting the working hours, the employee´s right to request a renewal or partial renewal of the scope of the original weekly working hours is enshrined;
- rejection of a request for shorter working hours or other appropriate adjustment of working hours or a request for a renewal/partial renewal of the scope of the original weekly working hours is newly required to be justified in writing by the employer;
- as part of the right to request flexible working arrangements, it is now possible for pregnant employees, female or male employees caring for a child under the age of 9 and listed carers to request remote work, provided that if the employee’s request is not granted, the employer must justify this in writing.
Remote work (§ 317 of the Labour Code)
- the new institute of “remote work” (this represents a legislative abbreviation for the performance of work from a place agreed with the employer other than the employer’s workplace and thus also includes a form of work in practice referred to as home office or work from home) regulates the conditions for the performance of remote work;
- the new basic obligation is a written form of a remote work agreement between the employer and the employee. The performance of remote work is only possible on the basis of a written agreement between the employer and the employee, with the exceptions set out in the Labour Code. Exceptions are cases where the employer is entitled to order the employee to perform remote work. The lack of a written form may newly be sanctioned and a fine may be imposed on the employer;
- a deadline for concluding a written agreement for existing employees who does not work at the employer’s workplace is set;
- if the employee agrees with the employer that he/she will perform remote work for the employer during working hours that he/she schedules himself/herself under the agreed conditions, it shall newly apply that the length of the shift may not exceed 12 hours;
- major changes concerning the reimbursement of costs when performing remote work – it is newly possible to reimburse these costs with a lump sum if agreed in writing between the employer and the employee or stipulated by an internal regulation. The employer and the employee may agree on a higher than statutory amount of reimbursement. The employer and the employee may also agree in writing in advance that the employee is not entitled to reimbursement of all or part of the costs incurred in connection with the performance of remote work;
- the obligation under the remote work agreement may be terminated by agreement between the employer and the employee on the agreed date or by termination for any reason or without giving a reason, with a fifteen-day notice period beginning on the date on which the notice was delivered to the other party; both the agreement and the notice must be in writing. The employer and the employee may agree on a different length of notice period in the remote work agreement; the notice period must be the same for both the employer and the employee. The employer and the employee may agree in the remote work agreement that the obligation under this agreement may not be terminated by either party.
Delivery of documents, conclusion of contracts
Delivery of documents by the employer
- a simplification of the rules for some of the employer’s documents – newly there is no obligation to deliver to the employee’s own hands, in particular documents concerning the establishment and change of the employment relationship or the legal relationship based on an agreement on work performed outside the employment relationship and agreements on the termination of these relationships;
- the conclusion of contracts and agreements is simplified (it is possible to conclude them remotely by electronic means) and it now applies that if the documents (contracts, agreements) mentioned in the preceding paragraph are concluded via an electronic communications network or service, the employer is obliged to send a copy of them to the employee at the employee’s electronic address, which is not available to the employer and which the employee has communicated to the employer in writing for these purposes. In this context, the rules for the possibility of an employee to withdraw from contracts and agreements concluded in this way are also newly regulated;
- in case of documents that need to be delivered in the employee’s own hands, the employer’s greater choice regarding the method of delivery is newly In addition to the standard primary delivery of documents at the employer’s workplace, other methods of delivery (e.g., by a data box, by handover wherever the employee is present, by electronic communication network or service – see below) are permitted as additional primary methods of delivery under the conditions regulated by the Labour Code. The possibility to use the method of delivery through the postal service operator is still provided only as a so-called secondary method of delivery and this method of delivery is therefore only possible if it is not possible to deliver the document at the employer’s workplace;
- in the case of delivery via a data box the prior written consent of the employee is no longer required. The employer may deliver a document to the employee via a data box unless the employee has made it unavailable for delivery of documents from the data box of a natural person, an entrepreneurial natural person or a legal entity pursuant to Section 18a of the Act on Electronic Acts and Authorised Conversion of Documents. If the employee does not log in to the data box within 10 days from the date of delivery of the document to the data box, the document shall be deemed to have been delivered on the last day of this period (fiction of delivery);
- delivery via an electronic communications network or service is still relatively challenging. The employer may now deliver in this manner if the employee has given consent to this method of delivery in a separate written statement in which he or she has also provided an electronic address for delivery that is not available to the employer. Before granting consent, the employer is obliged to inform the employee in writing of the conditions for delivery of a document via an electronic communications network or service, including the statutory deadline. A document delivered via an electronic communications network or service must still be signed by the employer with a recognised electronic signature. This document is delivered on the date when the employee confirms receipt to the employer by a data message; it is now not necessary for this data message to be signed with a recognised electronic signature of the employee. If the employee does not confirm receipt of the document within 15 days from the date of its delivery, it shall be deemed to have been delivered on the last day of that period (fiction of delivery). Delivery is ineffective if the document is returned to the employer as undeliverable.
Delivery of documents by the employee
- changes to delivery by the employee mean that the employee may deliver a document via an electronic communications network or service to the employer´s electronic address which the employer notifies to the employee for that purpose. The document must be signed by the employee, but now no longer with a recognised electronic signature. The document is delivered to the employer on the date when the employer confirms receipt to the employee by data message. Newly, such data message is no longer required to be signed with a recognised electronic signature of the employer. If the employer does not confirm receipt of the document within 15 days from the date of its delivery, it shall be deemed to have been delivered on the last day of that period (fiction of delivery);
- the employee can now deliver documents to the employer’s data box without the employer’s consent, unless the employer has made it unavailable for delivery of documents from the data box of a natural person, an entrepreneurial natural person or a legal entity pursuant to Section 18a of the Act on Electronic Acts and Authorised Conversion of Documents. The fiction of delivery applies here as well, i.e. if the employer does not log in to the data box within 10 days from the date of delivery of the document to the data box, the document is deemed to have been delivered on the last day of this period.
For some obligations, the amendment sets out the conditions and transitional periods within which the new obligations must be fulfilled.
If you have any questions or need to review and modify the employment law documents or set up corresponding processes, we are always at your disposal.
Team WTS Alfery, Alfery Hrdina Advokáti