The draft amendment still has a relatively long way to go through the legislative process. The government should discuss it in the coming weeks. Then it will go to the Chamber of Deputies, where it will depend on how much it will be commented on during the individual readings. It is therefore possible that some rules will undergo further changes. It is already clear, however, that this will be one of the most important amendments in 2023.
According to information from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the amendment envisages divided effectiveness. The validity will depend on the legislative process, but the exception is the leave entitlement provisions for contractors, which are proposed to come into force on 1 January 2024.
Home office regulations in the Czech Republic
Popular benefit – working from home, the so-called home office – has become a necessary way of doing work in many companies during the coronavirus pandemic. Some employers allow their workers to work remotely even now. However, employees cannot now claim home office, and the employer does not even have to justify its decision to (dis)permit work from home, not even in relation to parents or other caregivers.
Both parties can now conclude an agreement on working from home orally or combine it with an internal regulation. However, the amendment brings about a change in this direction, consisting in the fact that the agreement on the performance of remote work between the employer and the employee will have to be concluded in writing, while the mandatory requirements of this contract are not specified. Employees caring for children under the age of 9, pregnant employees and employees caring for persons dependent on the help of others may request the employer in writing to perform remote work. Although the employer is not obliged to comply with the request, he is obliged to justify the rejection of the request in writing.
The amendment also results in the employer's obligation to reimburse the employee for the costs of working from home, at the proposed rate of 2.80 CZK per hour of work (this is an hourly flat rate for gas, electricity, water, waste, etc.). These costs will not be part of the wage, salary or remuneration of the agreement. The amount will be valued every year by a decree of the ministry. The employer will also have the option to order the employee to work in special cases. The length of a shift when working from home cannot exceed 12 hours if the parties agree that the employee will schedule his own working hours.
Vacation allowance for part time workers
A fundamental adjustment awaits work on agreements, DPP - the agreement on the performance of work and DPČ - the agreement on work activities. According to the currently valid legislation, employees working under agreements are not entitled to vacation, they are not entitled to additional payments or regulations on obstacles to work. It is possible to agree on this in favor of the employee, however, in practice, such a procedure is basically not used. For employers, the agreements represent a flexible tool to quickly terminate relationships, now there are more relaxed rules for working hours, vacations, and overall it is a very benevolent area. However, the amendment tightens the rules for DPP/DPČ.
The amendment to the Labor Code brings many significant changes to contract workers. For example, they will be entitled to vacation, nursing pay and additional payments for working at night and on public holidays, as well as to the use of obstacles at work - like doctor visit, for example.
The employer will have to schedule the employee's weekly working hours in writing, similarly to the case with employees in an employment relationship.
The employee will also be entitled to demand from the employer a written justification for the dismissal from the DPP/DPČ and will also be able to request a transition to an employment relationship, if in the previous 12 months the legal relations based on agreements lasted for at least 180 days, with the employer being obliged to provide a reasoned written answer.
Electronic contract conclusion in the Czech Republic
The amendment also brings changes in the field of e-sign. Employment contracts, as well as agreements, could be concluded electronically. The employee will be able to withdraw from contracts or agreements concluded in this way or their changes within seven days, if the work has not started. It will also be possible to deliver other important documents electronically, e.g. resignation. However, for electronic delivery, the written consent of the employee will be required - on a separate statement, including that the employer will also have to inform in advance about the conditions of electronic delivery of documents, including the conditions of the delivery fiction - and the employee will have to communicate his own electronic address for delivery. The amendment to the Labor Code also brings an expansion of the employer's information obligations upon the creation of an employment relationship. The employee must be newly informed in writing, for example, about the duration and conditions of the probationary period, about breaks and rest, about weekly working hours, about the professional development provided, etc. This information must be received within seven days of the creation of the employment relationship. If the notification will take place electronically, the employee must be able to save or print the information, and the employer must at the same time document the transmission of this information.