Do you want to spend your holiday in Slovakia? From 1 January 2019, some employers will have to provide you a recreation contribution.
In an attempt to support local tourism, Slovak legislators passed a Labour Code amendment, according to which companies employing more than 49 employees are obliged to provide a recreation contribution to any employee who requests it. Companies with less than 49 employees will be able to issue the recreational vouchers on a voluntary basis.
The recreation contribution is available to employees whose employment with the company has lasted at least 24 months. This means that only employees working under an employment contract are eligible, including part-time employees. An employee can only apply for a recreation contribution from one employer.
The amount of the recreation contribution is 55% of the recreation costs, up to a maximum of €275 per calendar year. However, only full-time employees are eligible for the full amount. For part-timers, the contribution will be reduced proportionally to their shorter working hours. For example, a part-time employee who works 20 hours a week is only entitled to a half.
The recreation contribution applies only to holidays which include at least two overnight stays in Slovakia.
Companies can provide the contribution either in financial form, or as recreation vouchers.
Employers and trade unions are skeptical. They argument that the law discriminates employees of smaller companies, and that people who cannot afford to pay the remaining costs of their holiday will not apply for a voucher. It will also increase labour and administration costs. As is the case with food vouchers, the legislator compels employers to give employees money for a specific purpose, instead of enabling them to reward the employees with a contribution which they could use as they see fit.
Only time will tell whether the employers’ fears that the new law will have a negative impact on the future economic growth of Slovakia will come true, or whether the recreation contributions will become hugely popular among employees willing to spend their holiday, and their money, in Slovakia, thus boosting the local economy.