Below we summarise the main changes to which you should pay particular attention, given the very short adaptation periods and the level of penalties involved.
Teleworking – work from home
Written agreement: Teleworking will only be possible based on a written agreement between the employee and the employer.
Duration: The teleworking agreement may be terminated with 15 days' notice, unless the parties agree on a different period. Alternatively, the parties may agree that the agreement may not be unilaterally terminated.
No entitlement: There is no entitlement (on the part of employees) to telework.
Telework order: It will only be possible to order telework by public authority measure.
Cost: Compensation for teleworking costs may be excluded in the agreement. Alternatively, it may be set at a flat rate (currently assumed to be CZK 4.60 / hour), or at a higher rate, or it will be provided at the amount proven.
What to do? A teleworking agreement must be concluded in writing. For new employees, it must be concluded before the actual teleworking starts. For existing employees working in this mode, the parties have until the end of October to conclude the agreement in writing.
Tip: It has been shown in practice that combining a relatively short teleworking agreement (determining the place of work, matters of reimbursement of costs and termination of the agreement) with an internal regulation (regulating, e.g. how telework is to be recorded in the attendance system, requirements for the home workplace, how occupational health and safety will be ensured, data protection, etc.) is an effective course of action.
Agreements to perform work and to complete a job (DPČ/DPP)
Fundamental changes will be made in the case of so-called contract workers, i.e. employees working on the basis of agreements on work performed outside the employment relationship (DPP = agreement to complete a job / DPČ = agreement to perform work). The innovations consist mainly in the following:
- The working time regulation will be fully applied; furthermore, work obstacles on the part of the employee will be applied, but will not be paid by the employer;
- The employer is now obliged to schedule the working time and to inform the contract worker of it at least three days in advance, unless otherwise agreed with the employee;
- Contract workers will now be paid extra for working on public holidays, Saturdays and Sundays, at night and in difficult environments;
- Contract workers will now be subject to information obligations similar to those of employees in an employment relationship, including, for example, information on the expected amount of working time per day or week and the way in which working time is scheduled;
- From next year, contract workers will also be entitled to holiday pay, albeit on a limited basis.
What to do? It is recommended that existing agreements and internal regulations be reviewed and, where appropriate, amended. Any templates should be modified as well.
Tip: It is advisable to consider proper written termination of agreements, especially for agreements to perform work (DPČ).
Employer's information obligation
The amendment expands the scope of information that the employer must provide to employees in writing and shortens the time limit for providing this information (the information must be provided in advance, no later than on the day the change takes effect, and in the case of contract workers within seven days of the commencement of work). The information may be provided electronically, but the employer must keep proof of transmission. In the case of posting abroad, a special information obligation applies. The scope of information to be provided to existing employees must be expanded only at their request.
What to do? It is recommended to prepare a written communication covering the mandatory information, both for employees in an employment relationship and contract workers.
Tip: It will be possible to fulfil a large part of the information obligation by referring to an internal regulation, a collective agreement or the Labour Code.
Electronic conclusion of agreements and delivery of documents
Agreements and contracts of employment can be concluded and terminated by agreement electronically; in such a case a copy must be sent to the private e-mail address provided by the employee. An employee may withdraw from an electronically concluded contract/agreement within seven days if they have not already started work.
The strict in-person delivery regime is now limited to selected unilateral documents (such as notice of termination, immediate termination and probationary period termination, recall from function or wage assessment). The amendment makes workplace delivery and other methods of delivery, including data box, equal, except for delivery by post, which can only be used if delivery at the employer's workplace is not possible.
What to do? For delivery by e-mail, you will need to prepare a written document advising the employee of the legal consequences of delivery by e-mail (including notice of the fiction of delivery after 15 days), as well as a statement by the employee that they consent to delivery to their private e-mail address.
Tip: Due to the uncertainty as to whether the document will actually be delivered to the employee (e.g. it might go to spam), we recommend using electronic delivery in addition to in-person delivery or delivery by post.
Obligation to issue a written statement of reasons
The employer will now be obliged to issue a written statement of reasons for refusing a request for more flexible working for a protected group (pregnant women, employees caring for children under the age of 15 or dependants). Refusal will only be possible for serious operational reasons.
In addition, the employer will be required to provide written reasons for refusing the request of a protected group of employees (pregnant women, employees caring for children under the age of nine or dependent persons) who have requested teleworking.
If the employer refuses the request of a contract worker to enter into an employment relationship – provided that the contract worker's agreement to perform work or agreement to complete a job (DPČ/DPP) lasted for a total of at least 180 days in the previous 12 months – the employer will also be obliged to give reasons in writing.
What to do? It is advisable to prepare a written statement of reasons in case the aforementioned requests are refused.
Changes to the Labour Inspection Act
In connection with the amendment to the Labour Code, new fines related to breach of the information obligation, failure to provide written a written statement of reasons (up to CZK 200,000), refusal to adjust working hours without serious operational reasons (up to CZK 300,000), unequal treatment of remuneration under agreements (up to CZK 500,000) and others are introduced.
The Labour Inspectorate can enter the home workplace in the case of telework, but only with the consent of the employee and other persons living there.
Given the number of changes introduced by the amendment to the Labour Code as of 1 October 2023 and the short timeframe for adapting to them, we recommend making the necessary changes to processes and revising existing documents and internal regulations as soon as possible. We especially would like to draw your attention to the obligation to conclude a teleworking agreement no later than by the end of October 2023, and the information obligations towards new employees and employees posted abroad.
If you are interested in legal assistance, we will be happy to help you set up your internal processes to be fully compliant with the amended Labour Code.