By: Tomas Neuvirt
Member Firm: Randl Partners
This article provides a short overview of the biggest changes to employment law in the Czech Republic in 2017.
- New paternity leave provisions entitling the father of a newborn child or a new foster parent of a child under the age of seven to seven days paid leave.
- Changes to agency work meaning foreign workers in certain professions or with higher education qualifications can now be posted to the Czech Republic through work agencies.
- Changes to employment-related medical services – including changes to the frequency of obligatory medical examinations and rules regarding employment-related medical examinations for agency workers.
- New rules on posted workers introduce a guaranteed minimum wage from the organisation requesting the posting and an obligation to produce their contract in Czech to the labour inspection body.
- Increase in the minimum wage from CZK 11,000 to CZK 12,200 per month.
- New long-term nursing allowance entitling individuals taking care of a close relative in need of long-term nursing care after hospitalisation to a maximum of 90 days benefit payment.
New paternity benefit
As of 1 February 2018, new ‘post-natal benefits for fathers’ (while on a paternity leave) can be granted under sickness insurance (Act No.148/2017 Coll., amending Act No. 187/2006 Coll., on Sickness Insurance, as amended, and other related acts). Any father of a new-born child or foster parent of a child under the age of 7 is entitled to this benefit within a period of six weeks following the date of birth of the child or the date the foster care begins. The ‘support period’ is seven calendar days. Paternity leave begins on the date determined by the insured person within the period described above and it cannot be interrupted and restarted later.
The amount of sickness benefit provided per calendar day is 70% of the reduced daily basis of assessment (the same basis as pre-existing maternity benefits).
Changes in agency work conditions
As of 29 July 2017, foreign workers who obtain an employee card, blue card, or work permit may now be posted to the Czech Republic through temporary work agencies (Act No. 206/2017 Coll., amending Act No. 435/2004 Coll., on Employment, as amended, and other related acts). However, a Government Decree limits the posting of unqualified foreign workers to certain professions listed in the Decree. From 28 November 2017, foreign workers with higher levels of education (the minimum requirement is successful graduation from academic, not vocational, secondary education) can be posted without restrictions (Regulation No. 374/2017 Coll., amending Regulation No. 64/2009 Coll., on defining professions which are excluded from temporary agency work, as amended).
Further, each legal or natural person (including pre-existing employment agencies) applying for an employment mediation permit will have to put down a deposit of CZK 500,000. In addition, all employment agencies must appoint a ‘responsible representative’ for these purposes according to conditions set out in the the new law.
In addition, all employment agencies and employers using agency workers have a new responsibility, namely to make sure that a worker is not posted to an employer which already directly employs him or her, or to which the employee has already been posted by another employment agency during the same month.
Employment-related medical services
In 2017, legislation regarding employment-related medical services was significantly amended (agency (Act No. 202/2017 Coll., amending Act No. 373/2011 Coll., on Specific Medical Services, as amended, and other related acts and Ministerial Decree No. 436/2017 Coll., amending Ministerial Decree No. 79/2013 Coll., on implementing certain provisions of Act No. 373/2011, on Specific Medical Services, as amended, and other related acts). The most important changes are set out below.
Medical examination requirement on hiring relaxed
An employer will now be able to enter into an employment contract with an employee before an initial medical examination is conducted. The employee must, still undergo an initial examination before the employment relationship actually commences, but this can take place after signing an employment contract. The amendment also expressly established the option of waiving the right to appeal a medical report. This step should help accelerate the process of entering employment, as it will not be necessary to wait ten working days after the initial medical examination for the official medical report.
Frequency of periodic medical examinations increased
The frequency of periodic medical examinations has been changed for workers who fall within risk category II (as specified by the Act on the Protection of Public Health), which is the most common occupational risk category. Such workers will now be obliged to undergo a medical examination every four years instead of five and, after the age of 50, every two years instead of three. By contrast, an annual obligatory medical examination for night workers has been deemed unnecessary and is now only required every two years.
Final medical examination for workers in hazardous occupations
Workers falling into some of the hazardous risk categories of work are now expressly obliged to undergo a final medical examination upon leaving a job. The same applies for any worker who has suffered a work-related accident or occupational disease. The exit medical examination can be performed at the request of the employee, but now also at the request of the employer.
Medical assessments for student workers
General practitioners specialising in child and youth care are also now permitted to issue employment-related reports when assessing capacity for work of students who are not old enough to be assessed by general practitioners for adults.
Medical assessments for agency workers
Last but not least, agencies are now able to provide employment-related medical examinations to their employees via either their own medical provider, the employer’s general practitioner; or the worker’s healthcare provider on the basis of the conditions stipulated in the temporary assignment agreement.
New rules for employers of posted workers
Act No. 93/2017 Coll., (amending Act No. 435/2004 Coll., as amended, and other related acts) introduced new rules relating to the employment of posted workers in the Czech Republic that took effect on 1 April 2017.
In order to make labour inspections more efficient, posted workers’ employment contracts must now be made available at their workplace. This also applies to EU employers posting employees to the Czech Republic. In addition, these employment contracts have to be translated into Czech.
Any organisation in the Czech Republic to whom an employee has been posted must now guarantee the posted employee’s minimum wage or minimum guaranteed wage, if it is not paid by the worker’s employer in his or her country of origin and the person who requested the posting was aware of this fact or should and could have been aware of it.
Minimum Wage Increase
The minimum wage (defined as the lowest allowable payment for work performed) increased with effect from 1 January 2018 to CZK 12,200 per month or CZK 73.20 per hour for full-time weekly work (i.e. 40 hours a week). The minimum wage must be paid through basic salary (Regulation No. 286/2017 Coll., amending Regulation No. 567/2006, on Minimum Wage, as amended, and other related acts).
In addition, the law sets minimum wage levels for eight categories of employees, depending on the type of work they undertake (specifically its complexity, responsibility and difficulty). The minimum monthly wage for these categories was also increased and now ranges between CZK 12,200 and CZK 24,400.
New long-term nursing benefit
Starting on 1 June 2017, a new ‘long-term nursing benefit’ has been introduced (Act No. 310/2017 Coll., amending Act No. 187/2006 Coll., on Sickness Insurance, as amended, and other related acts). This benefit is provided to anyone covered by state sickness insurance (all employees) that cares for a person in need of long-term nursing care after hospitalisation. This means care provided at home and includes, among other things, providing help with feeding, clothing, help with hygiene and exercise. The person in need of long-term nursing care needs to have consented to being taken care of.
The person benefiting from the nursing benefit must be a partner or close relative of the person in need of long-term nursing care or a person living in the same household as the person in need of long-term nursing care. They must also satisfy certain other requirements to be entitled to long-term nursing benefit: these requirements include an obligation to have contributed to state sickness insurance for 90 days during last four months and in some cases, a requirement to have the same place of residence as the person in need of care.
The benefit is provided on a daily basis and the amount is based on earnings in previous months, specifically 60 % of the reduced daily basis of assessment (in the Czech Republic a reduction is applied when establishing the calculation basis for benefits for higher earners). The ‘support period’ during which the benefit is to be provided is set at a maximum of 90 days.