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Transposition of the EU labour law directive

Transposition of the EU labour law directive

Following the transposition of Directives (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20.06.2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union and 2019/1158 also of 20.06.2019 on work-life balance for parents and persons with caring responsibilities, repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU, a further amendment of the Labour Code is expected to take effect from 01.08.2022. However, as the material has not yet been approved, it is possible that some of the proposed provisions will be amended. 

The material on the forthcoming amendment is currently under consideration by the Government of the Slovak Republic. 

Among the most significant changes that the mentioned amendment reflecting the transposition of the two above-mentioned directives is expected to bring are the following innovations:

Prohibition for the employer to restrict the performance of other income activity outside the working hours:

  • this prohibition is enshrined in the provision of Article 13(6) of the Labour Code;
  • however, this restriction does not affect any other statutory, such as the ban on competition.

setting a mandatory 10-day period for depositing consignments:

  • the proposed amendment reflects the experience from practice, where employers have shortened the storage period disproportionately in accordance with the terms and conditions of post company;
  • this change is proposed to increase legal certainty regarding the delivery of documents by post company, which sets the exact length of the storage period for mail at a minimum of 10 days;

a form of providing information; and information on working conditions and conditions of employment:

  • the introduction of the new provision of Section 38a allows for the use of electronic form in addition to the paper form when the employer provides information to the employee, provided that the employee has access to the electronic form of the information and can save and print it;
  • in this case the employer shall be obliged to keep proof of its delivery or receipt;
  • clarification of the employer's information obligation towards the employee when the employment relationship is amended only with respect to its duration, but there is no actual establishment of a new employment relationship, while this reflects in particular the practice of some employers where they did not fulfil certain notification obligations towards employees when amending the employment relationship (e.g. confirmation of employment, employment review);

the essential elements of an employment contract:

  • changes or precision of the content also occurs in relation to the employment contract (now Sections 43 and 44): specification of the employer's name and its registered office, if it is a legal entity, or place of business, if it is a natural person, and the employee's name, surname, date of birth and place of permanent residence of the employee;
  • the employer would agree with the employee only on the essential elements of the employment contract, with other terms and conditions of employment agreed in writing in a separate document (e.g. in the form of an addendum to the employment contract) or directly in the employment contract as additional terms and conditions of employment (e.g. additional material benefits), provided that the employee requests this information from the employer or the terms and conditions of employment are changed;
  • from now on, it would no longer be sufficient to regulate the terms and conditions in the employment contract merely by reference to the relevant sections of the text, but it will be necessary to define it precisely in the employment contract in words, in the manner set out above, in order to increase the transparency, clarity and predictability of the terms and conditions of employment and of the essentials of the employment contract;
  • however, the amendment will not affect employment contracts concluded before the amendment came into force;
  • in the case of an employment contract specifying the place of work outside the territory of the Slovak Republic (note: these are not cases of posting of employees), a new provision of § 44a should be added, which should introduce special requirements consisting of the time and the place of work in the state or states outside the territory of the Slovak Republic as well as specifying the notification obligation of the employer (e.g. The notification of the employee must be clarified by specification of the name, benefits related to the place of work) when the above information must be provided to the employee before his departure to another state, except in cases when the period of place of work in another state does not exceed 4 consecutive weeks;
  • adjusting the length of the probationary period so that it is proportionate to the duration of the employment relationship;
  • in relation to employees working as "part-timers" on the basis of special agreements, the employer should be obliged (under the threat of a sanction of at least 50% of the remuneration of the employee working on as "part-timer", which he would otherwise have received) ) notify him not later than 24 hours before entering the workplace on which days and at what times he will be required to work; the employer is not obliged to compensate the part-timer if the employer notifies the start and end of shifts to the part-timer same as to theregular employee, i.e. in writing, publicly and at least one week in advance with effect for one week, or if the employee schedules his/her own working time, or if the average duration of the working time does not exceed 12 hours in no more than 4 weeks;

switching to another form of employment/work:

  • in relation to the form of employment, a new provision is proposed in Section 49b, according to which an employee whose employment relationship lasts for at least 6 months (and is not already in a probationary period) would be entitled to request the employer to switch from a fixed term to an open-ended employment relationship or to switch from a part-time employment relationship to a fixed weekly working time;
  • it also follows that the employee has the right to receive a reply to such a request from his employer, who is obliged to make it in writing and to give proper reasons for it;
  • for the sake of completeness, the employer will not be obliged to accept such a request from the employee and the employee will therefore have no legal right to a change of form of employment;

work time adjustments and related forms of work (flexible forms of work organisation):

  • the amendment proposes to supplement the current wording of Section 164 (2) so that pregnant employees caring for a child up to 15 years of age will be able to request not only shorter working hours, but also flexible working hours, homeworking, teleworking or an irregular home office or an earlier return to the original way of organising work, provided that the employer is not prevented from doing so by serious operational reasons;
  • the proposed change introduces a homeworking or home office entitlement for those employees, which is currently only possible on the basis of the employer's agreement with the employee in the employment contract;
  • the refusal of such a request must be duly justified in writing by the employer.

the introduction of the concept of "paternity leave" and the related modification of the conditions for taking it:

  • in this case, it would be a renaming and separation of the male's parental leave under Article 166(1) of the Labour Code into paternity leave;

the employer's right to make a unilateral deduction from the employee's wages in connection with meals:

  • it is proposed to add point (i.) to the current wording of Section 131(2) of the Labour Code, according to which the employer could unilaterally make a deduction from the employee's wages also in the case of an unaccounted advance payment for the provision of catering or for a financial contribution for catering; 

claims for unfair dismissal:

  • This amendment proposes to explicitly provide that the two-month time limit for bringing an action (to determine the invalidity of the termination of the employment relationship) would not be extended by the entire extended period of the protection period (e.g. due to the employee's incapacity for work), but only by a maximum of four months, counting from the date on which the employment relationship should have been initially terminated.

Author:

JUDr. Barbora Lord, Senior Lawyer at LGP Bratislava