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Amendment to Labour Code: further changes for workers under agreements outside employment

Agreements to perform work and agreements to complete a job (i.e., agreements on work performed outside employment) are very popular in the Czech Republic. The updated wording of the proposed amendment to the Labour Code, which was published by the government a few days ago, brings several further modifications to the original draft.

A significant change concerns vacation entitlement of workers under the agreements: for both type of agreements on work outside employment (agreement to perform work and agreement to complete a job), fictitious weekly working hours at 20 hours a week shall apply for the purpose of determining vacation entitlement. However, only workers whose relationship with the employer has lasted at least 4 weeks continuously and who have worked at least four times the stipulated fictitious weekly working hours, i.e., at least 80 hours, will be entitled to vacation. Vacation entitlement shall be calculated in the same manner as for employees in standard employment, i.e., under an employment contract. To eliminate possible complications in making the calculations and setting up internal accounting systems, the provisions concerning the vacation entitlement of workers under agreements will only enter into effect on the first day of the new calendar year.

The employer will newly be obliged to schedule the working hours of employees working under agreements and inform them of this schedule. The minimum time in advance in which the employer is obliged to inform the employee of their working hours schedule has been shortened from 7 to 3 days compared to the original proposal unless the employer and the employee agree otherwise (on a general or individual basis). The bill does not stipulate a minimum (or maximum) period of time that can be agreed on, but it can be assumed that the employer should schedule the employee's working hours and inform them of the schedule at least one day in advance (subject to the sufficient predictability of the work).

While the original wording of the amendment envisaged that the regulation of obstacles to work should also apply to workers under agreements as they do for employees under standard employment, the current wording stipulates that the employee will be entitled to time off but not to the compensation for the remuneration under the agreement unless provided by the employer, e.g., in an internal regulation, or unless it has been agreed in a collective agreement. The employer’s obligation to provide extra pay for work at night, in a difficult working environment, on weekends or public holidays, but not for overtime work, has remained in the proposal.

The Labour Code should also stipulate that the employer's obligation to provide information on the content of the relationship between the employee and the employer shall also apply to workers under agreements, to the same extent as for employees in a standard employment.
It will still be possible to terminate an agreement to perform work or an agreement to complete a job with a fifteen-day notice without giving any reason or for any reason. In some cases, however, the employee may request a written statement of the reasons for the termination, and the employer will be obliged to comply.

Workers under agreements whose legal relationships based on the agreements with the same employer have lasted at least 180 days in aggregate in the previous 12 months will now have the right to ask the employer for a standard employment (under an employment contract). In response to such a request, the employer must provide the employee with a written response stating the reasons for their decision within one month.

When do the changes take effect?

The government has announced that there is a basic consensus among the social partners regarding the latest draft of the amendment, so we can assume that any changes adopted during the legislative process should be of a rather marginal nature.

The amendment assumes a ‘split’ effect. The effective date (except for some provisions concerning agreements on work outside employment) is expected in the second half of this year, although all will depend on the speed of debate and the extent of comments in the individual readings in the chamber of deputies.

In view of the signalled changes, we recommend employers adjust their existing agreements on work performed outside employment and their approach to workers under the agreements in accordance with the proposed amendment to avoid possible sanctions by the labour inspectorate.