The amendment to the Labour Code introduces several new novelties in response to the European directives on transparent and predictable working conditions. We bring you a summary of the most important changes.
On 4 October 2022, the National Council of the Slovak Republic approved an Act amending Act No. 311/2001 Coll. the Labour Code (the "Labour Code") (the "Act"). These changes reflect the transposition of (i) Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union; and (ii) the Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers (the "Directives").
Several provisions enshrined in the Directives are already included to a certain extent in the current legislation of the Labour Code or in other labour law regulations.
The Act is expected to enter into force on 1 November 2022.
The Act introduces the following changes to the Labour Code or other labour legislation:
(i) the possibility of 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;
- is 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, but is only obliged to reply to the employee in writing and to duly justify the reply.
(ii) the form in which the information is provided: where information is provided to an employee, it should be permissible, in addition to providing the information in paper form, to provide the information in electronic form, provided that the following conditions are met:
- 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.
(iii) 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.
(iv) 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;
(v) 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 current legislation, the employer is obliged to comply with this obligation within one month of the commencement of the employment relationship, i.e. the time limit for providing this information will be shortened by the Act;
- 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.
(vi) delivery: the employer may not specify a collection period of less than ten days for the delivery;
(vii) the institution of paternity leave: the employee (the father of the child) is entitled to paternity leave of two weeks (14 calendar days) within a period of six weeks from the birth of the child. During this period and after the conditions have been fulfilled, he will be entitled to so-called "paternity" (maternity) pay. During this period, the child's mother will not lose her entitlement to maternity leave and maternity pay.
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