Czech Labour Code not applicable to drivers in transit from other EU member states

The amendment to the Road Transport Act brings many changes: the law newly regulates the posting of drivers from other EU member states, and these rules significantly differ from the general regulation of the posting of workers under the Czech Labour Code. Drivers from other EU member states passing through the Czech Republic will not enjoy the same standard of protection as other employees.

On 22 July, an amendment to the Road Transport Act long-awaited by employers was published in the Collection of Laws. It implements Directive (EU) 2020/1057 laying down specific rules for the posting of drivers in road transport, with the aim to ensure, inter alia, adequate working conditions for drivers. It also clarifies that international carriage in transit does not constitute a posting of workers, as there is no significant link between the driver and the country of transit, unless they load or unload cargo or pick up or set down passengers during the transit. 

A large part of the amendment concerns the posting of drivers employed by a carrier established in another EU member state to the Czech Republic. In certain cases, the amendment excludes the application of the provisions of the Czech Labour Code on the minimum standard of protection of employees posted to the territory of the Czech Republic. Generally, the Labour Code guarantees these workers the same treatment as Czech employees in terms of the length of working hours, holidays, minimum wage, equal treatment, and non-discrimination, etc.

The amendment specifies that the Labour Code shall not apply to drivers carrying out bilateral freight transport for other persons, scheduled or unscheduled passenger transport, or international shuttle transport, and having been posted to work in the Czech Republic within a transnational provision of services in the Czech Republic. Conversely, if the driver transports people, animals, or things between places located in the territory of the Czech Republic, the Labour Code shall apply to them.

Carriers not exempt from the application of the Labour Code must fulfil their information obligation towards the Ministry of Transport and, after the end of the posting and upon request, also towards the Transport Office and the State Labour Inspection Office. However, these carriers will usually not be subject to the information obligation under the Employment Act, or the obligation to equip drivers with Czech translations of their employment contracts. 

For breaches of obligations, carriers face sanctions up to CZK 500,000.

The amendment will enter into effect soon, so we recommend that both carriers and drivers familiarise themselves with the new wording of the law as soon as possible. We will bring more details in upcoming issues.

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