A major amendment bill to the Labor Code which seeks to implement EU legislation is still being debated on the floor of the House of Deputies. The planned changes concern, among other things, the performance of remote work.
The current amendment bill to the Czech Labor Code, driven by the need to implement EU legislation, has already passed second reading in the House of Deputies. The European laws to be transposed are Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers, and Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union. The next debate of the bill is scheduled for the 70th session of the House, beginning 27 June 2023. Given that the transposition period for both directives lapsed already in August 2022, it is fair to assume that the amendment will likely be written into law in the next few months. Having said that, the legislation procedure still needs to run its full course, and it is therefore entirely possible that changes will still be made to the wording during the upcoming debates.
The bill anticipates far-reaching changes both on the part of employers and on the part of employees. Among the planned new provisions, those concerning remote work, and the compensation for mobile workers’ expenses incurred in connection with such work, are of particular interest. The amendment to the Labor Code anticipates that remote work may only be performed based on a written agreement to such effect between employer and employee. The obligation to which such an agreement gives rise may be terminated by way of a mutual understanding between the parties; it may also be cancelled (for any reason, or without stating any reason at all) observing a 15-day notice period. The amendment bill moreover provides that the employer and the employee may agree that their remote work agreement cannot be cancelled by either party. The aforementioned rules represent a departure from the previous framework provided in the Labor Code.
In addition, the amendment bill to the Labor Code provides that the employer shall reimburse the employee for the expenses which they incur as they perform work from a remote location. In practice, this is either to be done by filing receipts for the actual amounts, i.e., the employee evidencing to the employer which of their expenses are related to the remote working arrangement, or on the basis of a lump-sum compensation payment. At the same time, the amendment bill stipulates that the employer and the employee may agree in writing that the employee is entitled only to a prorated compensation, or to no compensation at all, for their expenses in connection with remote work performance. Workers who perform on a contractual basis outside regular employment are not automatically entitled to such compensation of their expenses; however, an individual arrangement may be made under which they can be reimbursed.
In sum, we find that the amendment bill to the Labor Code that is currently being discussed in the lower house of Parliament will make it easier to handle the compensation of remote work expenses, in that it will be upon the employer to decide how such compensation will be awarded, and in that the compensation can be waived altogether in a mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. More generally, the bill delivers greater legal certainty for the legal relations related to remote work and fleshes out the legal aspects of this kind of work performance with greater specificity.
Parliamentary press 423