From 1 January 2014, higher level collective agreements can be applied to employers in respective industries without any need to obtain their consent.

The legislation was passed by parliament at the second attempt after initially being sent back by the president.

The new procedure can be applied to any employers except those who:

  • are subject to another higher level collective agreement;
  • employ fewer than 20 employees;
  • employ more than 10% of disabled employees;
  • are insolvent, in liquidation, subject to restructuring or forced administration or affected by an emergency situation; and
  • had been in business for less than 24 months as at the date of effectiveness of a higher level collective agreement’s extension.

All parties to a higher level collective agreement may now propose (jointly or on their own) by written motion to the Ministry of Work, Social Affairs and Family (the „Ministry“) for the agreement to be extended to other employers in the same industry (or part of the industry). The affected employers may file their comments to the motion within 30 days of the motion being published in the Commercial Journal.

The motion (and any comments to it) will be considered by an advisory committee (employing the tripartite principle) comprising a representative from each of: the Ministry, employers’ and trade unions’ associations, the Ministry of Economy and the Statistical Office. The committee’s decisions will have the force of recommendations for the Ministry, which then has the power (by issuing a generally binding legal regulation) to apply the higher level collective agreement to the relevant employers.

The opposition considers the provisions of the amendment establishing the compulsorily extension of higher level collective agreements to be unconstitutional. A group of SDKÚ-DS, KDH and Most-Híd MPs has already started a compliance action in the Constitutional Court, as well as tabling a motion to stop the amendment taking effect until the outcome of the court action is known.

Law: amendment to the Collective Bargaining Act