Expected Changes to the Labour Code
Even though the Czech Republic’s deadline for adopting two EU directives on labour law has expired, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, it is still working on drafts of the necessary amendments to the Labour Code. But what changes can we actually expect?
One EU directive establishes workers‘ rights to information on working conditions and new protections, including the right to more predictable working hours. It sets two time limits within which workers must be informed of these rights. For the first category of information, there is a time limit of 7 days, for the second one month from the first working day.
The other directive deals with leave of absence for reasons of force majeure, which is unknown in Czech labour law. Its goals is to ensure employees have the right to time off from work on grounds of force majeure for urgent family reasons in the case of illness or accident. Member States may limit the right to a certain amount of time each year, certain cases or both.
This directive also lays down minimum requirements related to flexible working arrangements for parents, i.e. the possibility to adjust working patterns, including the use of remote working arrangements, flexible working schedules, or reduced working hours.
Employees with children up to a specified age, which shall be at least eight years have the right to request flexible working arrangements. The duration may be subject to reasonable limitations. However, there is no general obligation on the employer to accommodate flexible working arrangements. Employers shall consider and respond to requests for flexible working arrangements within a reasonable period of time, taking into account the needs of both the employer and the employee. Reasons for refusal or postponement of such arrangements have to be provided. Employees shall also have the right to request to return to the original working pattern before the end of the agreed period where justified.
Dismissal of employees, on the grounds that they have applied for, or have taken, paternity, parental or carers´ leave or have exercised the right to request flexible working arrangements are to be banned. Employees may request the employer to provide duly substantiated reasons for their dismissal and the employer shall provide reasons for the dismissal in writing.
It is also expected that the forthcoming amendment will set rules for remote working. All employers and their HR staff are advised to pay attention to the forthcoming amendment to the Labour Code, which will hopefully be known as in the nearest future.
Mgr. Dagmar Junková