Kurzarbeit has passed the first reading
On 24 February 2021, the Government of the Slovak Republic approved a bill that addresses the introduction of a permanent regime of abbreviated work, the so-called kurzarbeit.
The bill was discussed at the 25th meeting of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, on 18 March 2021, at which more than 120 deputies voted for discussion in the second reading and the assignment of the bill to the committee.
Purpose and wording of the law
The main purpose of the proposed bill is, in addition to ensuring coverage of part of compensation of the employee 's salary or compensation of the employee's income at a time when the employer can not assign work to employees to the originally agreed extent due to external factors well as maintaining jobs and competitiveness of employers and self-employed persons in times of economic crisis, recession and other crisis situations.
According to the prepared law, external factors are considered to be circumstances of a temporary nature which the employer could not influence or prevent and which have a negative impact on the assignment of work to the employer's employees, in particular an extraordinary event, state of emergency, extraordinary circumstance or circumstances of force majeure.
The bill strictly defines that the external factor does not consider the time of the war and the state of war, the seasonality of the activities performed, restructuring, planned shutdown or reconstruction.
Entitlement to support
According to the prepared law, an employer who applies for support for his employee must meet several of the following conditions, namely:
- be at the time of abbreviated work,
- have, on the date of application, paid social security contributions, compulsory old-age pension contributions for the relevant period,
- must not have infringed the prohibition on illegal employment for a period of two years prior to the submission of the application for support, if he did so, he would not meet the exhaustive calculation defined by the prepared law.
Financial support should be provided to the employer per employee - a natural person who is either in an employment relationship or in a civil service relationship, or in a legal relationship on the basis of a contract for the professional practice of sport. It therefore follows from the prepared law that a self-employed person respectively another self-employed person is not entitled to such a contribution to cover repayment for his own business activity.
Amount of support and conditions per employee's post
According to the prepared law, support is to be provided for each hour of obstacles to work on the part of the employer due to a restriction of the employer's activity, amounting to 60% of the employee's average hourly earnings in the calendar month for which the support is provided. However, up to a maximum amount of 60% of 1/174 double average wage of an employee in the economy of the Slovak Republic published by the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic for the calendar year which two years preceding the calendar year in which the support is provided.
The employer will be able to apply for support in this amount only if he cannot assign work to the employee to the extent of at least 10% of the established weekly working time.
Support will be possible to get per the employee:
- if his employment relationship with the employer lasted at least one month at the same time as at the date of application, and at the same time
- he is not on notice period.
The condition for drawing the support is the obligation to keep the job position supported in this way by the employer for at least two months after the end of receiving the support.
Period of drawing on the support
The Government of the Slovak Republic has proposed to provide such support in total for a maximum of 6 months for 24 consecutive months, with the possibility of extending such a period, if it is necessary.
According to the submitted wording of the prepared law, the government bill is expected to take effect from 31 December 2021, except for selected provisions with later effect.