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Exposing illegal work and disguised agencies labour inspectorate’s main focus

The State Labour Inspection Office carries out almost 20,000 inspections each year. In 2023, there were 19,977, i.e., 1.5 thousand more than in the previous year. The largest number of inspections focused on work safety, but inspections of illegal employment, employment agencies and compliance with the regulation of working conditions and labour relations also accounted for a significant share.

Inspections aimed at detecting illegal employment are a long-term priority of the Office. Last year, the regional inspectorates detected 2,801 illegally employed persons. These included 2,156 foreigners from non-EU countries (mostly Ukraine, Moldova, and Vietnam), 583 Czech citizens, and 62 citizens of other EU member states. 296 inspections uncovered illegal work in the form of a Svarc system set-up. Total penalties imposed for illegal employment in 2023 amounted to CZK 134,121,500. The number of inspections focusing on this area increases every year.

The Office also pays attention to disguised mediations of employment. This means hiring out workers to another entity without fulfilling the legal conditions for employment mediation, in particular obtaining a permit for carrying out the activity of an employment agency. In 2023, 309 disguised employment agencies and 183 users of these disguised employment agencies were detected. 80% of the detected disguised employment agencies have a foreign ownership structure and employ large numbers of foreigners, often illegally or under poor working conditions. Total penalties imposed in this area in 2023 amounted to CZK 116,870,000.

Increased number of employee-initiated inspections

An integral part of the Office’s activities are also inspections based on complaints, especially by employees who draw attention to possible violations of law by their employers. Last year, labour inspection authorities received 6,268 such complaints, which is 826 more than the previous year. 3,470 complaints concerned labour-law relations; 1,608 illegal employment, 758 work safety, and 197 related to the Employment Act.

According to the annual plan of inspections for 2024, the Office plans to carry out at least 6,700 inspections in the area of employment, focusing on disguised employment mediation (agencies), illegal employment of Czech and EU citizens and foreigners from third countries, equal treatment and non-discrimination in exercising the right to employment, compliance with the mandatory quotas for employing persons with disabilities, and the provision of childcare services in children's groups. Further inspections are planned in the areas of labour relations and occupational safety. The detection of illegal work and disguised employment mediation will remain a priority for this year.

Penalties can run into millions of Czech crowns

Penalties for misconduct imposed by the Labour Inspection Office can be very severe, with the highest fines amounting to millions of Czech crowns; for some offences in the area of illegal employment or disguised employment mediation a ban of activity for up to two years may be imposed. Are you being inspected by the labour inspection authorities, or are you interested in an audit of your compliance with labour-law obligations? Do not hesitate to contact us!