September changes to Labour Code

On 1 September 2011 Act no. 257/2011 Coll. took effect, substantially amending the Slovak Labour Code. The amendment introduces more flexible labor relations and decreases employers’ costs, in the expectation that this will spur on employment growth.

Probationary period

The new law allows for longer probationary periods. Instead of the previously applicable general probationary period of a maximum three months it is now possible to agree on a probationary period for management level employees of six months, or nine months if the probationary period is agreed within a collective agreement.  Regular employees may also be subject to a probationary period of six months provided this is agreed within a collective agreement.

Notice periods and severance pay

The amended Labour Code provides that employees are generally entitled to one month’s notice to end their employment, or two months where the employment relationship has lasted at least a year.

Different rules apply, however, where employment is terminated for any of the following reasons: the winding up or relocation of the employer (or part of the business); redundancy; or incapacity on health grounds. In such cases the employee will be entitled to either notice or severance pay but no longer both.  If the employment relationship terminates by agreement, the employee is paid severance pay and the notice period does not apply. Where, on the other hand, there is no agreed termination, there is no severance pay and the following notice periods apply:

  • for employees with less than a year’s service – one month;
  • for employees with between one and five years’ service - two months;
  • for employees with at least five years’ service – three months.

Other gainful activities

Under the revised Labour Code an employee who intends to carry out other gainful activity that could compete with the employer’s activities must notify their employer in writing without undue delay. The employer has 10 days to request, in writing, that the employee refrains from such activities.

Non-compete clauses

The amended Labour Code also allows parties to agree in writing within the employment contract that the employee will not compete with their employer for a certain period (of no more than one year) after the termination of their employment. For the duration of the limitation the employee is entitled to financial compensation of at least half their average monthly earnings for each month of the restricted period. The parties can set out in the contract any penalty for non compliance on the part of the employee.