International Newsletter

Changes to the Czech Labour Code: Home Office and Job-Sharing Trends

October 31, 2019
Czech Republic

The Czech Labour Code is set to change for the first time in many years thanks to a significant revision in the pipeline. While this revision was originally scheduled to take effect in July 2019, the date has been pushed back due to the elections held in the first half of this year. The exact date on which the revision will take effect is not yet known, but is expected to be passed in the near future.

The first noteworthy proposal aims to implement a set of new employee-friendly rules governing how annual leave is calculated. Under this proposal, an employee’s annual leave entitlement will be determined based on his or her set working schedule rather than the number of working days on which he or she actually performed work for the employer. As a result, employees who work irregular hours will no longer be at a disadvantage. Discussions are also underway to increase statutory annual leave from four weeks to five weeks.

In revising the Labour Code, the lawmakers have taken note of the trend toward working from home and that employers are increasingly offering this option as a standard benefit. Whereas only one provision of the Labour Code in its current form is devoted to working from home, the proposal introduces new requirements, including an obligation on employers to reimburse all costs incurred by employees performing work away from the employer’s workplace.

The proposal also includes more specific rules on the statutory transfer of employees’ rights and obligations to new employers (known as TUPE transfers in many countries). The current legislation has been criticized as too vague in this regard, and the circumstances under which these statutory transfers occur are often unclear.

In addition, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has proposed that job sharing be legally recognized. This would allow two or more employees to enter into a written agreement with an employer to share a single position. The employees will then be able to split their working activities based on their agreement and work schedule, which the employer will have to approve in advance. Although job sharing is anticipated to support employees on parental leave and those with disabilities, in reality all employees may benefit from it.

Finally, although not directly related to the revision of the Labour Code, the government is proposing to increase statutory parental benefits, which would provide increased benefits for families already receiving parental support under existing arrangements. Parental benefit payments have been unchanged for an extended period, so the change would surely be welcomed by families. And although the statutory minimum wage and guaranteed salary have risen on a regular basis, these minimums are also set to increase.

Written by Sabina Krajíčková of Wolf Theiss and Roger James of Ogletree Deakins

© 2019 Wolf Theiss and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, P.C.