Labour-law earthquake to hit for the first time in June
The years of effort to adopt an extensive amendment to the Labour Code have finally borne fruit: the governmental bill has passed through the legislative process and was promulgated in the Collection of Laws under No. 285/2020, with the effective date of 30 July 2020, while some provisions, such as those regulating vacations and job sharing, will enter into effect only on 1 January 2021.
The new regulatory concept of vacations has remained the amendment’s notional flagship. Under the amendment, an employee’s weekly working hours should form the basis for assessing vacation in hours, which will be fairer especially for employees working in shifts with varying length. The amendment also changes the regulation concerning the reduction of vacations: whereas today, employers may reduce an employee’s vacation by one to three days for an unexcused missed shift, under the new rules, vacations can only be reduced by the number of working hours actually missed.
A job-sharing concept is also part of the amendment: to promote work-life balance, two or more employees will be able to share one job and take turns within working hours they themselves schedule to perform the job. The job sharing must be agreed in writing between each employee and the employer, and the shorter working hours of individual employees sharing one job may not in aggregate exceed the weekly working hours.
The amendment also responds to practical problems associated with the delivery of written documents to employees. For example, for the delivery of a written document to an employee by post it should suffice that the employer has attempted to deliver the document at the workplace; it will no longer be necessary to chase down the employee at home or anywhere else.
The amendment also cancels the employer’s duty to issue a confirmation of employment for an employee whose agreement to complete a job has been terminated (excepting agreements subject to the participation in the sickness insurance scheme or garnishment of a portion of wages). The amendment also increases the amount of one-off compensation paid to a worker’s surviving family members to at least twenty times the national economy’s average wage. Last but not least, the amendment transposes the EU Directive on the Posting of Workers.
By an amending proposal, the regulation of a leave of absence for persons working as holiday camp instructors or otherwise arranging events for children and young people was included in the amendment: employees will be entitled to paid leave of absence for up to one week per calendar year to take part in these events. The maximum amount of the wage compensation to which such employees will be entitled shall be derived from the national economy’s average wage for the previous year. To this extent, the state will also contribute to the employers for the wage compensations.
The amendment to the Labour Code brings rather fundamental changes in labour law and employers will have to cope with them. In particular, the conceptual regulation of vacations and job sharing (and other novelties), will surely necessitate many revisions of labour-law documentation and internal procedures. We will be happy to assist employers in this respect.