Recent amendment of the Slovak Labor Code

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The Slovak Parliament has recently approved a significant amendment of the Act No. 311/2011 Coll., Labor Code, as amended (the “Labor Code”). The amendment was published in the Collection of Laws on February 19, 2021 and most of its provisions shall be effective as from March 1, 2021. Below is a basic summary of the new provisions.

Work from home arrangements

As a result of the new working situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the amendment provides more clear definitions, rights and obligations of the employer and employee in relation to work from home arrangements.

  Homeworking (in Slovak: domácka práca) Teleworking (in Slovak: telepráca) Work from home
Definition Work performed from employee's home, which could be performed at the workplace, but

 

  • is regularly performed from home
  • in the extent of stipulated weekly working time or within its part
Work performed from employee's home, which could be performed at the workplace, but

 

  • is regularly performed from home
  • in the extent of stipulated weekly working time or within its part
  • whilst using IT technologies, where regular data transfer is used
Work performed from employee's home occasionally or under extraordinary circumstances from home

 

  • upon approval of or agreements with the employer
  • if the type of work allows such work from home
Form
  • to be agreed in writing in the employment contract
  • to be agreed in writing in the employment contract
  • approval of the employer or agreement required
Weekly working time
  • Can be agreed that the employee will organize it on his/her own1
  • Flexible distribution of working time can be also agreed
  • Can be agreed that the employee will organize it on his/her own1
  • Flexible distribution of working time can be also agreed
N/A
Additional obligations of the employer towards employees working from home
  • Compensate evidenced increase in expenses of the employee when using his/her own IT devices and tools
  • Inform the employee of restrictions relating to use of IT devices and tools
  • Prevent isolation of employee and enable him/her to meet other employees at workplace
  • Provide the employee with similar access to enhance qualifications as for comparable employees at the workplace
  • Do not advantage or disadvantage the employee working from home compared to other comparable employees at the workplace
  • Provide, install and regularly maintain IT devices and programs for work, unless the employee uses his/her own devices and tools
  • Ensure safety of data
  • Compensate evidenced increase in expenses of the employee when using his/her own devices and tools
  • Inform the employee on restrictions relating to use of IT devices and tools
  • Prevent isolation of employee and enable him/her to meet other employees at workplace
  • Provide the employee with similar access to enhance qualifications as for comparable employees at the workplace
  • Do not advantage or disadvantage the employee working from home compared to other comparable employees at the workplace
     
  • Ensure safety of data
  • Do not advantage or disadvantage the employee working from home compared to other comparable employees at the workplace
     
Additional rights and obligations of employees working from home
  • Right to disconnect
  • Obligation to inform the employer of any technical issues that disable homeworking, without undue delay
  • Right to disconnect
  • Obligation to inform the employer of any technical issues that disable teleworking, without undue delay
  • Right to disconnect
  • Obligation to inform the employer of any technical issues that disable home office, without undue delay

Meal vouchers versus financial allowance

Starting from March 1, 2021, employees will be able to choose to receive: (i) meal vouchers, or (ii) a financial allowance for food, if the employer cannot provide meals to employees in its own catering facilities or in the catering facilities of another employer. The choice of the employee shall then last for 12 months. The employer may specify details regarding how such a choice shall be exercised in its internal policies. Certain categories of employees do not have a right to choose and they will obligatorily be provided with a financial allowance for food.

If the employer has an ongoing valid contract with a provider of meal vouchers for this year, it is obliged to allow its employees to choose from the above possibilities only after termination of such contract with this provider, but no later than as from January 1, 2022.

The financial allowance per one working day shall be at least 55% of the minimum value of the meal voucher being currently EUR 5.10. The meal vouchers shall be in electronic form only, from January 1, 2023.

Intragroup temporary assignments

Based on the amendment, intragroup temporary assignments will be easier as from March 1, 2021. Mainly, neither the “objective operational reasons” for a temporary assignment on the side of the sending employer, nor the minimum length of 3-months´ employment of the assigned employee will be required. This exception applies only if the temporary assignment between intragroup employers is free of charge (however, compensation of actually incurred expenses can be requested). 

Trade unions 

Based on the amendment, the employer will be obliged to allow the trade unions to operate at the employer only if the union members are employed at the employer. If either the employer or the trade union already operating at the employer are uncertain if the members of a new trade union are employed at a respective employer, the dispute needs to be resolved by an arbitrator (either chosen by the parties or appointed by the Labor Ministry). The arbitrator has 30 days to resolve the dispute. If the arbitrator rules that a new trade union does not have members employed at the respective employer, it will be deemed not to be active at the employer for a period of 12 months.

New dismissal reason 

The amendment allows the employer to dismiss employees who have reached the age of 65 years provided that such employee has also reached the age eligible for a retirement allowance. The employer´s obligation to offer such employees other suitable work will not apply in this case. Such dismissed employees will be entitled to receive severance payment as in the case of dismissal due to redundancy. The retirement severance payment might also need to be paid by the employer upon such dismissal. These provisions will become effective as from January 1, 2022 only.

 

  1. If this arrangement is agreed the employee is not entitled to various rights under the Labor Code (e.g., stipulation of weekly working time distribution and continuous daily and weekly rest, stand-by time arrangements, no salary compensation for personal obstacles, no salary compensation for overtime, work on weekends, on holiday or for nightwork).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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