New rules for continuous rest between shifts

On 1 August 2013, the Czech Parliament passed a new amendment to the Labour Code, which brought a number of changes to fixed-term employment relationships and continuous rest periods.

Regarding continuous rest periods between shifts, an employer was previously obliged to manage working hours so that each employee had a minimum rest period of 12 hours between the end of one shift and the start of a subsequent shift within 24 consecutive hours. The amendment to the Labour Code has now reduced this mandatory rest period to 11 hours. For employees who are under 18 years, the minimum rest period of 12 hours will remain.

This new amendment to the Labour Code aims to make it easier for employers to plan shift patterns and for employees who spend more than 12 hours a day at work to be able to report back to work at the same time the next day.

Renewal of fixed-term employment contracts

An amended Labour Code reintroducing the linking or renewal of employment contracts for certain groups of employees under specific conditions came into force on 1 August 2013. The Amendment is designed to render the labour market more flexible and increase corporate competitiveness.

The Amendment provides for the repeated (more than twice) execution of a fixed-term employment contract with an employee where serious operational reasons of the employer or reasons arising from the nature of the employee’s work exist (typically, seasonal work in agriculture or construction). Examples of serious operational reasons include but are not limited to: major reorganisational changes affecting the employer or its manufacturing processes and one-off customer orders that require a substantial increase in the number of workers.

The above procedure is conditional upon the execution of an agreement with a trade union that details the reasons and rules for negotiating fixed-term employment contracts, the type of employees to whom the procedure will apply, and the period for which the agreement with the trade union is negotiated. If there is no trade union, the above agreement may be replaced by an internal employer regulation.

If the relevant conditions are met by an employer then it is possible for it to repeatedly renew a fixed-term employment contract with its employees. This new amendment is likely to become particularly popular among those employers whose business makes use of seasonal workers in the agriculture, construction or tourism industry.