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Overview of the 10 most important changes to the Labour Code in 2022

Act No. 311/2001 Coll., the Labour Code ("Labour Code"), as the basic labour law regulation, was amended up to six times in 2022. The adopted amendments reflect the transposition of European directives or the need to solve application problems arising from earlier legislation.

The most important changes to the Labour Code are provided below.

1. Adjustment of the extent of leave of an employee permanently caring of a child

An employee permanently caring of a child shall be entitled to leave of at least 5 weeks. This legislation is already in force with effect as of 1 January 2020.

With effect as of 1 January 2022, the legislation has been supplemented by a mechanism for determining the extent of entitlement in the event that the employee does not meet the condition for the entire calendar year. In this case, the employee's entitlement shall be determined on a pro rata basis, as the ratio of the number of days of permanent childcare in the relevant calendar year to the number of days in the calendar year.

2. Paternity leave

With effect as of 1 November 2022, paternity leave of two weeks (14 calendar days) within six weeks of the birth of a child is also implemented for the employee who is the father of the child. During this period, and once the conditions have been met, he will be entitled to so-called 'paternity pay' (maternity pay). During this period, the child's mother will not lose her entitlement to maternity leave and maternity pay.

3. Feeding employees

As of 1 January 2022, the employer is obliged to provide the employee with a choice between a meal voucher or a financial contribution. This obligation applies to all those employers who do not provide meals for their employees in a catering establishment. The employee shall be bound by his choice for a period of 12 months from the date to which the choice is made.

For the sake of completeness, we point out that as of 1 January 2022, only the amount of EUR 2.81 is exempt from tax and levies and not the entire amount as it was before 1 January 2022. Thus, assuming the employer provides the employee with a contribution higher than EUR 2.81, it will no longer be treated as a tax expense and will be subject to levies by both the employer and the employee.

4. Changes to employer termination of employment

As of 1 January 2022, a new termination ground for termination of employment by the employer was supposed to enter into force, namely the employee's reaching the age of 65.

The decision of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic ("CC SR") (PL. ÚS 12/2021) suspended the effectiveness of the relevant provision of the Labor Code. Therefore, an employer cannot currently use this new termination ground to terminate the employment relationship with its employee.

For the sake of completeness, we just state that the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic has not yet decided on the merits of whether or not the relevant provision of the Labor Code is in accordance with the Constitution of the Slovak Republic.

With effect as of 1 April 2022, a new obligation has been introduced for the employer, namely the obligation to notify the disabled employee without delay of the submission of a request for prior approval of the competent Labour, Social Affairs and Family Office to give notice of termination of employment.

5. Cabotage transport

With effect as of 2 February 2022, the Labor Code was supplemented by a new legal regulation called cabotage transport and represents the transposition of Directive (EU) 2020/1057 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

The Labour Code in the new Section 5a contains a special regulation of posting of employees (drivers) working in the field of road transport.

A posting will not take place if, for example, the employee (driver) is just passing through a EU country without loading/unloading goods or picking up/dropping off passengers. The individual cases in which a driver will not be considered as an employee posted for the performance of work (i.e. there is no posting) are defined exhaustively in Section 5a (2) of the Labour Code.

6. The possibility of the employee's transfer to another form of employment

An employee has the right to request his employer for a form of employment with more predictable and secure working conditions (e.g. the employee has the right to ask his or her employer for a change from a fixed term to an indefinite term).

This option applies to an employee who meets the following conditions:

  • has a fixed-term or part-time employment contract;
  • s not on probation period; and
  • has worked for the same employer for at least six months.

The employer, however, is not obliged to comply with the employee's request. However, he is obliged to reply to the employee in writing and to duly justify the reply.

7. The form in which the information is provided and delivery

The strictly formalistic method of informing employees in writing is abandoned.

The possibility of providing information to employees also in electronic form is implemented, subject to the following conditions:

  • the employee has access to the electronic form of the information;
  • he/she can save and print it; and
  • the employer keeps a record of the sending or receiving of such information in electronic form.

The new legislation also provides a prohibition for the employer to set a collection period of less than ten days when delivering post to employees.

8. Probationary period

In the case of fixed-term employment relationships, the agreed probationary period may not be longer than half the agreed duration of the employment relationship.

In practice, this means that if an employment relationship is agreed for a period e.g. four months, a probationary period may be agreed for a maximum of two months.

9. Parallel employment

An employer may not prohibit an employee from commencing employment with another employer outside the hours of work determined by that employer, nor disadvantage him in any way because of that.

10. Changes to the information obligation on working conditions

The employer is obliged to provide the employee, within seven days of the commencement of the employment relationship with information on:

  • the method of determining the place of work where more than one place of work is agreed in the employment contract;
  • the length of the employee's standard working day or week and any rules regarding overtime and overtime pay, and rules regarding shift change when the work schedule is fully or substantially predictable; and
  • the wage payment terms.

Under the legislation in force until 1 November 2022, the employer was obliged to fulfil this obligation within one month of the commencement of the employment relationship, i.e. compared to the previous legislation, the time limit for providing this information will be shortened.

A new information obligation of the employer is introduced, namely:

  • to inform the employee of the time limit for submitting a claim for a determination that the termination of the employment relationship is invalid; and
  • to inform the employee of the right to training provided by the employer.

The time limit for providing the information is four weeks from the date of commencement of the employment relationship. In order to eliminate administrative paperwork, the employer fulfils this obligation by including the information in the employment contract itself.

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