This content is from: Local Insights

Slovak Republic: Labour Code changes

The amendment to the Labour Code that comes into force on May 1 2018 enshrines, among other things, a pay increase for employees. This pay increase only concerns the wage supplement paid to employees who work (i) on outings; (ii) on Saturdays; (iii) on Sundays; and (iv) at night.

The changes concerning work on Saturdays, Sundays and at night apply not only to employees under a standard employment contract, but also to students employed under a temporary student employment contract and to workers engaged under an agreement to perform work or a work activities agreement.

Some of the wage supplements that have been voluntary in the past will now be mandatory (work on Saturdays and Sundays), and other mandatory wage supplements will be increased. In some cases, this increase is quite substantial in comparison to the existing legislation and as such is considered a fundamental change that will impact the business sector.

The amendment provides for a transitional period of one year, from May 1 2018 to May 1 2019, during which time reduced wage supplements will be in effect. This means the increase will effectively be implemented in two phases.

Employees were previously entitled to a supplement of 50% of their average hourly wage for holiday work; beginning May 1 2018 the supplement will be increased to 100 % of an employee's average hourly wage.

The wage supplement for work on Saturdays has been strictly voluntary until now but under the new legislation, effective as of May 1 2018, a supplement of 25% of the employee's minimum hourly wage will be mandatory; and effective as of May 1 2019, the supplement will go up to 50% of the employee's minimum hourly wage. The type of work is irrelevant. In other words, the increase applies equally to standard work and to dangerous work.

The amendment also provides for a wage supplement for work on Sundays, which had previously been strictly voluntary. The new legislation makes the supplement mandatory and it will be phased in beginning May 1 2018. The amount will be set at 50% of the employee's minimum hourly wage, with the full amount of 100% of the minimum hourly wage effective as of May 1 2019. The supplement is applicable across the board, regardless of the type of work (ie standard work, as well as dangerous work).

The wage supplement for night work is based on whether the employee performs standard work or dangerous work. Existing legislation provides for a night work supplement of 20% of the employee's minimum hourly wage; for standard work, the supplement will go up to 30% on May 1 2018 and to 40% beginning on May 1 2019. The supplement for dangerous work will be increased to 35% as of May 1 2018 and then to 50% of the minimum wage effective as of May 1 2019.

Employers will be able to apply exceptions as provided by the Labour Code for certain areas, particularly as regards employers whose workers regularly work on Saturdays, Sundays and at night because of the specific conditions of the business operation or due to the nature of the work itself. For employers, this means the ability to negotiate a collective agreement with the trade union that provides for a wage supplement of less than the lawful amount for work on Saturdays, Sundays and at night. In companies with fewer than 20 employees who are not organised in a trade union, the employer may negotiate directly with the employees for a lower wage supplement, keeping in mind, however, that the minimum supplement cannot be less than the amount required specifically by law. This gives employers the opportunity to reduce wage supplements by a maximum of 10% off the lawful amounts.

The employment contracts of managerial staff may provide for a salary that is inclusive of any potential work on Saturdays, Sundays or at night. In other words, these employees would not be entitled to any wage supplements for that work.

Another noteworthy change requires employers to state the offered pay in their job advertisements, with binding effect. In this context, 'binding effect' means that the employment contract subsequently presented to the selected candidate cannot provide for a base wage lower than the amount that had been stated in the job advertisement.

Yet another change concerns the requirement of applying certain provisions of the Labour Code, such as the provisions on minimum wage, annual leave, and working hours, to employees that have been posted to Slovakia from non-EU countries to provide services to employers. The aim is to prevent social dumping in the posting of workers from non-EU countries.

Rudolf SivákByung Sung Park

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