Changes to the compulsory provision of occupational medical services

Act no. 355/2007 Coll., on Protection, Support and Development of Public Health has been amended after the European Commission expressed the opinion that the legislation did not meet the requirements of EU law. In particular, the Commission felt the Act failed to implement the health surveillance measures in Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.

The amended legislation took effect on 1 August 2014, with a transition period until 31 December 2014.

The most important change is that, from 1 January 2015, all employers are required to provide their workers with the option of accessing occupational medical services, regardless of the level of hazard that their work entails. Previously, the legislation imposed this obligation only on employers of workers in positions qualifying as hazardous (ie falling into 3rd or 4th work category).

For these purposes, employers are required either to conclude a contract on the provision of such services with occupational health care providers, or to secure such services by means of their own employees (ie the employer employs a medical doctor specializing in the required area or a public health worker).

Failure to comply with the new legislation risks a fine of between EUR 150 and EUR 20,000.

Minimum wage increase

On 1 January 2015 the minimum wage was increased by 7.95%. The minimum monthly wage is now EUR 380 (previously EUR 352) and the minimum hourly wage is EUR 2.184 (previously EUR 2.023). Although this uplift will increase the cost of employment in Slovakia, the region is likely to retain its appeal to foreign employers in comparison with other areas.

Increase in the catering allowance

Employers are required to make provision for meals for all employees who work for more than four hours in a day. An employer can do this by providing catering at or near the workplace or, if this is not possible, by providing meal vouchers in the amount of at least 55% of the cost of a meal. For these purposes, the notional cost of a meal is set by the Government and is revised annually. The cost of a meal for 2015 has been increased from EUR 4.00 to EUR 4.20. Provision of meals through catering services or meal vouchers are tax-deductible items.