Amendment to the Czech Labour Code or a step towards merit-based vacations…

The latest amendment to the Czech Labour Code establishes new rules on vacation entitlement and service of process, and introduces the new institution of job sharing. Balancing work and family will become easier.

On 24 January 2020, the first reading took place of a government bill for an amendment to the Labour Code which is slated to come into force as of 1 July 2020 (except for certain provisions that are supposed to come into effect only as at 1 January 2021).

Among the more significant changes brought about by the amendment are rules governing employees’ vacation entitlement in any calendar year. During ongoing employment with a given employer, employees who do 52 weeks of work in any calendar year plus the required number of weekly working hours applicable to this period are entitled to vacation for the calendar year calculated by multiplying the amount of required weekly working hours by the number of weeks’ vacation to which the employee is entitled in the given period. An employee who works a shorter working week will be entitled to vacation corresponding to that shorter working week. In other words, the hours worked by the employee will now be adequately reflected in their vacation entitlement. In the wake of this change, ‘vacation for days worked’ as a separate type of vacation under Sec. 214 of the current wording of the Labour Code will be abolished.

The new vacation concept also changes the conditions under which vacation entitlement may be curtailed. This measure may now only be used in response to the employee’s absence without leave from their work shift. This means that the number of ‘unexcused’ hours during any work shift is deducted from the total number of hours’ vacation to which the employee is entitled in the calendar year. Previously, employees could be sanctioned for absence without leave by taking one to three days of vacation away from them; this is now being reduced to the number of hours they were actually absent, which means the rule is being moderated in favour of the employee. In any case, employees must always be allowed at least two weeks’ vacation.

The amendment also seeks to introduce the new legal institution of job sharing (in Sec. 317a of the Labour Code. Shared jobs are expected to help employees balance their work and family lives. This entails that two (or more) employees with a similar job description and shortened working hours come to an agreement with their employer under which they may themselves schedule their working hours by working together in one shared job, reflecting their respective personal needs, so that each attains their average working hours within a balancing period of no more than four weeks, under a schedule on which they mutually agree. At the same time, the sum total of the weekly working hours of either employee must not exceed the number of hours in a statutory working week (i.e., 40 hours a week).

Finally, the amendment also touches upon service of notices in employment matters. Under a new rule, employers must deliver correspondence primarily into their employees’ own hands at the workplace, and only then using other means. For postal delivery, the law now requires employers to send correspondence to the address which the employee last notified to the employer in writing. This means that employees must be sure to report correct and current information for the purpose of postal service of documents, and must do so in writing. Employees now bear a measure of responsibility for successful delivery of correspondence.

Parliamentary press 689/0



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