February 2023 – Kinstellar’s Employment Law Team has prepared the following brief overview of upcoming changes in the field of employment law for 2023:
The most significant and highly anticipated change in the area of employment law for this year is expected to be an amendment to the Czech Labour Code. The amendment is tentatively scheduled to enter into force in the second half of 2023.
The amendment will affect numerous areas of employment law, including, telework, delivery, and agreements on work performed outside of employment relationships.
At the end of March 2023, a draft amendment will likely be submitted to the Czech government for further discussion. We are monitoring developments and will inform readers about the results in a future Employment Newsletter.
Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, numerous refugees have been granted temporary protection status in the Czech Republic. This enables refugees to remain in the country and to freely access the Czech labour market. Such temporary protections are due to expire on 31 March 2023. However, in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Czech government has proposed extending these protections until 31 March 2024.
Those granted temporary protection status will, however, have to apply for an extension by registering electronically with the Ministry of the Interior by the end of March 2023 at the latest. This will be followed by a personal visit by 30 September 2023 at the latest, where the applicant’s temporary protection status will be subject to a formal extension.
Those employing Ukrainian refugees with temporary protection status are therefore advised, in their own interests, to carefully check that employees have duly arranged for the respective extensions. A failure to renew a temporary protection status may expose employers to fines of up to CZK 10,000,000 for illegal employment violations.
The Whistleblowing Act is intended to protect a wide range of persons, including employees, reporting violations that have occurred, or are about to occur, where the prospective whistleblower performs work or another similar activity. Obliged entities must implement an internal whistleblowing system for receiving and handling notifications of infringements. The system concerns employers with at least 50 employees, select public entities (contracting authorities), and select entities in the financial sector. According to a transitional provision, however, small and medium-sized enterprises with 50 to 249 employees will be given until 1 January 2024 to introduce their internal notification systems.
Nonetheless, we strongly advise such obliged persons not to delay the introduction of the necessary internal notification systems. Indeed, experience has shown that the introduction of internal notification channels can protect a company’s reputation, prevent the criminal liability of legal persons, and strengthen the company’s external credibility vis-à-vis customers and the wider public.
We continue to monitor the status of the Whistleblowing Act and will inform readers about any progress in a future Employment Newsletter.
From 1 January 2023, the basic minimum wage rate will increase by CZK 1,100 per month to CZK 17,300, or by CZK 7.40 per hour to CZK 103.80.
Employers are therefore advised to review the wages they pay to employees and to carry out the respective increases so as to ensure that employee pay is at least equal to the minimum wage. Other obligations deriving from the minimum wage, such as a hardship allowance or minimum health insurance contributions, should also be reviewed.
The amendment to the Regulation on Occupational Health Services (Regulation No. 79/2013 Coll.) abolishes the obligation to perform periodic medical check-ups for employees in non-hazardous professions (first and second category) and for persons working under a work performance agreement and/or a work activity agreement as of 1 January 2023. This change applies when an employer or employee does not require periodic examinations. Moreover, as of 1 January 2023, no requirement will exist to carry out extraordinary medical check-ups when an employee returns from maternity or parental leave (after more than six months).
Quarantine has been added to the list of grounds prohibiting dismissal under the Labour Code. As in the case of sick leave, a quarantine order will now also lead to an interruption of leave. In addition (also similar to sick leave), quarantine is also a fully automated process, i.e. the notification of placement into quarantine, its duration, and termination will be made entirely by electronic means.
The Labour Code has added a new type of “significant personal obstacle to work” on the part of the employee, namely paternity leave. Fathers are entitled to the same protections under paternity leave (returning from paternity leave or protections against dismissal) as in the case of maternity leave.
Paternity allowance (in the amount of 70% of an employee’s reduced daily assessment base per calendar day) is payable for 14 days to fathers in connection with the care of a new-born child or to the insured person (male or female) with custody of the child.
The essential condition for entitlement to paternity allowance is participation in sickness insurance. For sole proprietors, to qualify for the paternity allowance, the condition of voluntary participation in the sole proprietor’s sickness insurance for at least three months immediately preceding the date of the start of the paternity allowance must be met.
The new regulation clarifies the legal framework specifically concerning paternity leave, which was previously treated as parental leave.
If you need to learn more about any of the new legislation, or if you would like to discuss its impact on your business in more detail, Kinstellar’s Employment Law Team is here to help.