Valid and effective changes in labour law

We already wrote about the planned changes in the labour law in June this year, but during the legislative process several important changes have been made that not only concern the content but also the effectiveness of the amended law. In fact, the Chamber of Deputies has stuck to its original proposal, which means that the expected postponement of the amendment's entry into force to 1 January 2024 will not take place. Most of the significant changes are therefore already effective from 1 October 2023.

Agreements on work performed outside the employment relationship

In the case of agreements for work outside the employment relationship, which are the agreement to perform work ("DPČ") and the agreement to complete a job ("DPP"), there has been a change concerning the written working time schedule. In the original proposal, the employer's obligation to inform the employee working on DPČ or DPP of the written working time schedule at least one week in advance was assumed, unless a different period for familiarisation was agreed. The legislation in force has reduced this period to 3 days.

Also, the regulation concerning the so-called transition to an employment relationship has become effective, whereby an employee working on DPČ or DPP may request in writing to the employer to switch to an employment relationship if he or she has worked for the employer under one of the agreements for at least 180 days in the previous 12 months. The employer is then obliged to provide the employee with a written reply within one month, stating the reasons.

As regards the right of an employee working on the basis of a DPČ or DPP to holiday and the provision of additional payments, e.g. for night work, weekend work, etc., there have been no substantive changes, however, in the case of holiday entitlement for DPPs and DPPs, the effective date has been postponed to 1 January 2024. For the purposes of holiday entitlement, it will be assumed that the employee's weekly working time is 20 hours, while employees working on a DPČ or DPP will be entitled to 1.5 hours of holiday for every 20 hours worked. As in the case of an employment relationship, it will be possible to provide compensation if the employee is unable to take the leave.

Telework (home office) 

Teleworking has seen the most changes compared to the original proposal. The unilateral ordering of telework by the employer is only possible in exceptional and legally defined cases. In other cases, teleworking is only possible on the basis of a written agreement between the employer and the employee. Unlike the initial proposal, there are no statutory requirements for such an agreement. However, it is reasonable to assume that any agreement should include at least the place of work, the method of communication, the timetable, the volume of work and the method of assigning work.

If an employer currently has employees teleworking without a written agreement, such an agreement must be concluded subsequently and no later than one month after the amendment takes effect, i.e. no later than 1 November 2023.

The telework agreement may then be terminated by agreement between the employer and the employee or by giving 15 days' notice. However, it will also be possible to agree on a different period provided that it is identical for both parties. The proposal also allows the parties to agree that the obligation under the agreement cannot be terminated by either party.

As regards the reimbursement of expenses, it is still possible to reimburse the employee for the actual expenses he proves to the employer, or it is now possible to reimburse expenses in a flat rate if the parties agree on this or if this is provided for in the employer's internal rules. The amount of the "statutory" flat rate reimbursement is set by a decree of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. An employer in the private sector may provide a higher amount of flat rate reimbursement. The law also now allows for a written agreement that the employee is not entitled to reimbursement of expenses in connection with the performance of telework.

Information obligation

A final significant change from the original proposal is also the extension of the employer's information obligation regarding the content of the employment relationship and the reduction of the time limit to comply with this information obligation from 1 month to 7 days from the commencement of the employment relationship. In the event of changes concerning the content of the employment relationship, the employer is obliged to inform the employee no later than on the day on which the changes take effect.

The required information may be included in, for example, the employment contract, an internal regulation (and referred to) or the employee may be informed electronically. In this case, the information must be accessible to the employee and the employee must be able to save or print it. The employer will still be obliged to keep a record of the provision of the information to the employee.