The wording of an amendment to the Labour Code surprised the business community as well as lawyers.
The reason for termination that had been discussed for years, which was supposed to go hand in hand with an employee reaching retirement age, has become a reality. As of January 1, 2022, an employer can legally terminate an employee who has reached the age of 65 and at the same time has fulfilled the requirements for entitlement to a retirement pension. The employee has a statutory right to severance pay in the event of such termination.
The Act also further modernized the “home office” rules, mainly due to the current widespread trend of working from home. A new definition regarding “working from home” was introduced. The place and type of work performed, as well as the rules on working hours, have been specified. In addition, the employer must bear the employee’s demonstrably increased costs incurred in connection with use of the employee’s own working equipment. This applies to working equipment required to work in the “home office,” such as costs for BYOD, electricity, high-speed Internet, etc. These must be agreed in writing with the employee.
In addition, the amendment now allows the employee to choose between a meal voucher (gastro ticket) and a financial contribution for meals. This choice can be made by the employee once in a 12-month period. The law recommends that employers regulate this new employee choice in an internal employer policy.
Employers will undoubtedly also welcome two important changes in collective labour law. The first is the introduction of the principle of representativeness in the local collective bargaining agreement (i.e., where there is only one company). According to the new law, the employer is obliged to allow activity by trade unions in the workplace only if there are active trade union members of that union among the employees in the company. The second change is the abolition of the automatic scope of application of sectoral collective agreements for employers where their effect was automatically introduced ex lege.
In addition, the Act simplifies temporary assignment of employees within a group.
Source: Act No 76/2021 Coll.