Summary of changes in the Slovak Labour Code from 1 March 2021
Since March 1, 2021, an amendment to the Labor Code will enter into force, which, among other things, addresses issues of the specificity of work from the employee's household and regulates the employee's ability to choose between meal vouchers and a financial allowance for meals.
On 1 March 2021 will enter into force amendment to the Act no. 311/2001 Coll. The Labour Code, as amended, and which amends certain acts (hereinafter referred to as the “Amendment”).
The aim of the Amendment is to address issues of specificity of work from the employee's household, regulate the employee's choice between meal vouchers and financial contribution for meal, make provision for the criterion of representativeness of employees' representatives at the employer, create a new model of adequate liability of the receiver of work or service, and to make provision for the possibility of temporary assignment of employees between parent and subsidiary companies.
In our article, we prepared for you a summary of these most important changes:
1. Flexible regulation of homeoffice
The new legal regulation reflects the needs of the current pandemic situation and the necessity for more flexible regulation of the conditions of domestic work and telework.
The Amendment introduces a new definition of domestic work and telework. Domestic work and telework is involved if work that could be performed at the employer's workplace is carried out regularly or in part from the employee's household. The possibility and conditions of performing domestic work or telework must be agreed in the employment contract.
As domestic work or telework is not considered the work, which the employee performs occasionally or in extraordinary circumstances with the consent of the employer or agreement with employer from the employee's household.
For the purposes of domestic work or telework, a household is considered to be an agreed place of work of an employee outside the employer's workplace. The place of work can be also agreed indefinitely, so that the employee chooses from where he will perform the work.
The employment contract must include an agreement between the parties on the organization of working time. The employee and the employer may agree in the employment contract that the employee will perform work during flexible working time or that the scheduling of working time is left exclusively to the employee which has to deliver the result by a certain time, regardless of working time in which he will perform it.
An employee performing domestic work or teleworking has the right not to use the means for exercise of domestic work or telework (right to disconnect), during his continuous daily rest and continuous rest during the week, unless the overtime work it is not ordered or agreed. The right disconnect is based on the EU legislation.
The Amendment explicitly stipulates the employer's obligation to reimburse demonstrably increased expenses associated with the use of his own equipment and his own items necessary for the performance of domestic work and telework.
2. Right to choose between Meal Voucher and Financial Contribution
According to the current legislation, the meal allowance is provided mainly in the form of the meal vouchers partly financed by the employer. Based on the Amendment, an employee can choose between two alternatives – meal vouchers and the financial contribution for meal. The employee will be bound by his selection for 12 months.
amount of the financial contribution is at least 55% of the minimum value of the meal voucher. amount of the minimal financial contribution of the employer for meal in 2021 is 2.11 EUR (and 2.81 EUR during the business trip lasting from 5 to 12 hours).
The employer will be able to regulate in the internal regulation more detailed rules by which the selection of the employee is carried out. Until the selection of the employee, the employer provides meal vouchers or a financial contribution for meals based on his decision.
The right of choice applies only to employees of employers who do not provide meals in their own catering facility or in another (contractual) catering facility, so the priority of the corporate catering system remains.
An employer who entered into a contract for the provision of meal vouchers before 1 March 2021 or in the period from 1 March 2021 to 31 December 2021 may decide whether to apply the new rules from 1 March 2021 (from the entry into force of the Amendment) or later, until the expiry of the contract on the provision of meal vouchers, but no longer than 31 December 2021.
In connection with changes in the provision of meal allowances for employees, the maximum amount of the fee for mediated catering service for the purchase of meal vouchers is also changing, and it is reduced from a maximum of 3% to 2% of the amount inscribed on the meal voucher.
With effect from 1 January 2023, it will be possible to provide meal vouchers only in electronic form, unless the use of such an electronic voucher will not be possible at the workplace or near to it.
3. Assignment of Employees between Related Persons
The Amendment introduces a simplified regime for assignment of employees between related parties.
According to the current legislation, the employer may agree with the user employer on the temporary assignment of an employee in an employment relationship only in the case, if there are objective operational reasons for the employer, at the earliest after three months from the date of the commencement of the employment.
Under the Amendment, the conditions of operational reasons and the minimum length of employment of an employee do not apply to the temporary assignment of an employee between the controlling person and the controlled person, which is free of charge.
4. Flexible Working Time during the Business Trip
According to the current legislation, the flexible working time do not apply in the case of an employee's ordered business trip. In such a case, the employer is obliged to determine the beginning and end of the work shift for the employee. In practice, such strict legislation has often encountered application problems.
Under the Amendment, these restrictions do not apply if the business trip interferes exclusively with basic working hours or if the employer and the employee agree otherwise
5. Extension of the Employer's Reasons for Termination
The Amendment introduces the new reason for termination of the employment on the side of the employer. Under the Amendment, the employer will be entitled to terminate the employment relationship with the employee, if the employee reaches the age of 65 and at the same time this age will be determined for entitlement to a retirement, i.e. both conditions must be met simultaneously.
This new legal regulation shall enter into force on 1 January 2022.
6. Representation in Trade Unions
In practice, it may be found that employees in the workplace are represented by persons who have no connection with employees, and in some cases, there are doubts as to whether they have any membership base with the employer at all.
The Amendment conditioned membership in the trade union at an employer by condition that employees can be represented in the workplace only by persons who are employed by the same employer. However, the exception is that a trade union may agree otherwise with the employer. The condition shall not apply to a member of the relevant trade union body for a period of six months from the date of termination of his employment with the employer.
This change will give the employer the certainty that he is negotiating with a trade union that is in fact active in the workplace and can legitimately represent the interests of its employees.
Finding out, whether a trade union operating at an employer has as its members employees in the employment relationships with the employer in its ranks, has its pitfalls. According to the current legislation, the employer does not have access to the list of members of a trade union.
In case of doubt, whether a trade union operating at the employer has members in an employment relationship with the employer, there will be the so-called dispute over the operation of a trade union at the employer. The relevant arbitrator for resolving this dispute shall be elected by the parties to the dispute. Otherwise, the arbitrator shall be appointed on the proposal of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic from the list of arbitrators it maintains. The arbitrator shall decide the dispute within 30 days of its receipt.