13 September 2023
The Chamber of Deputies adopted an amendment to the Labour Code on Tuesday. The amendment is expected to come into force as early as 1 October 2023 (depending on the date of its execution by the president of the Czech Republic and publication in the Collection of Laws).
The main changes brought to the Labour Code by the adopted amendment consist in the modification of the terms of the agreement on remote work (home office agreement). The amendment also explicitly regulates the issue of compensation of the employee's costs incurred in connection with remote work.
Another major change to the Labour Code will be the possibility of delivering documents to employees via data box and the simplification of the delivery of documents to employees using electronic communications network or service.
The amendment to the Labour Code will also bring partial changes to the regulation of agreements on the performance of work and agreements on work activity (in Czech: DPP & DPČ), whereby employees working under these agreements will be entitled to take paid leave, and the employer will be obliged to schedule work to shifts for these employees at least three days in advance.
Home office - selected changes
- Remote working will only be possible on the basis of a written agreement between the employer and the employee.
- The agreement on remote work may be terminated by agreement of the parties or by notice of termination by either party for any reason or for no reason at all, with 15 days’ notice period (unless a different notice period has been agreed in the telework agreement). The agreement on remote work may also state it cannot be unilaterally terminated by either party.
- The amendment also regulates the compensation of the employee's costs incurred in connection with remote work. Compensation may be provided as compensation for the actual costs incurred by the employee or in the form of a lump sum compensation calculated according to the number of hours worked and the amount of the lump sum set by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (the lump sum then replaces the complete compensation for all costs). It will also be possible to agree in writing with the employee that the remote work will be carried out by the employee without any reimbursement of costs or with the right to reimbursement of only a part of the related costs.
- In the case of employees performing work for an employer on the basis of agreements (in Czech: DPP & DPČ), any reimbursement of costs related to remote work must be agreed upon; such employees are not legally entitled to such reimbursement without further modification in the agreement on remote work.
- Any employee will be entitled to request remote work, however, in the case of a pregnant employee, an employee caring for a child under the age of 9 or an employee caring for a dependent person (in stages ii. to iv. of such dependency), the employer's potential refusal must be justified in writing.
- Delivery of documents in employment relations - selected changes
- It will be possible to deliver important employment documents such as notice of termination, immediate termination of employment, termination during the probationary period and generally documents relating to the termination of employment or relationships based on agreements (in Czech: DPP & DPČ) to the employee’s data box. The possibility of delivery via an electronic communications network or service will remain possible in a more simplified process as opposed to the current regulation (before the amendment).
- After the amendment takes effect, there will no longer be a preference for delivery of the above important documents to employees at the workplace.
- Based on the amendment, it will therefore be possible to deliver the aforementioned important documents to the employee via data box (however, it is of course necessary that the employee has an active data box which is concurrently set for the delivery of messages also from natural and legal persons). The employee does not have to give his/her prior consent to this method of delivery. If the employee does not log in to the data box within 10 days from the date of delivery of the document, the document shall be deemed to have been delivered on the 10th day following its delivery to the data box (legal fiction of delivery).
- In the case of documents delivered via electronic communications network or service, the employee’s prior written consent is required (which may be withdrawn at any time), which consent shall also state an electronic address for such deliveries. This electronic address must not be in the employer's possession, i.e. it cannot be the employee's work e-mail. In such a case, the employee will no longer need to further confirm the delivery of the document. If the employee does not acknowledge delivery of the document, it shall be deemed to have been received on the 15th day following its delivery (legal fiction of delivery).
- According to the amendment, the employee may also deliver documents to the employer via data box or via electronic communications network or service. However, in order for the delivery by electronic communications network or service to be effective, the employer must provide the employee with an electronic address for delivery. The document will be deemed delivered as soon as the employer confirms its delivery via a data box message or after the expiry of a 15-days’ period following the delivery of the document via electronic communications network or service.
- The same rules for deliveries via data box will apply to both the employer and the employee.
Other selected changes
- The amendment explicitly regulates the conditions for the valid conclusion of an employment contract and agreements on fixed-term and part-time employment (as well as amendments thereto), agreements on the termination of the employment relationship/relationship based on an agreement (in Czech: DPP & DPČ) via an electronic communications network or service.
- The amendment also changes the scope of information that the employer shall inform the employee of in writing. Employees in an employment relationship may also be informed electronically, but in such a form that the employee can save and print the information. In addition, the employer shall retain proof of the communication of the information in such a case.
- The amendment extends the scope of detailed information to be provided to the employee in case of employees posted to the territory of another country.
- The employer will newly be obliged to schedule the working time of an employee working for the employer on the basis of one of the agreements (in Czech: DPP & DPČ) no later than 3 days before the start of the shift – however, this rule can be overridden by agreement between the employer and the employee.
- For agreements (in Czech: DPP & DPČ), the amendment regulates the use of annual leave; for the purposes of its calculation, the length of working time for agreements is 20 hours per week.
- The amendment singles out health professions for the purpose of imposing additional agreed work over and above standard overtime. There will be an obligation that no one may be forced to carry out this additional agreed overtime work without their consent, nor be disadvantaged in any way if they do not agree to do so. The performance of other agreed overtime work is subject to the obligation to report such work to the Labour Inspectorate. Such additional agreed overtime work must be agreed in writing. This written agreement may be terminated for any reason, special rules apply for the limitation of such overtime work and the employer must keep a list of employees performing such additional agreed overtime work.