Temporary unemployment, transfer to other work, unpaid leave. In view of the current situation, employers have been forced to dust off the often forgotten provisions of the Labour Code again. Employees do not want to lose their jobs, which is why both parties are looking for a mutually satisfactory solution. However, contractual freedom within the meaning of the Labour Code also has its limits in the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals. Let us summarise what needs to be thought of when adjusting the employment relationships of foreigners who reside here for the purpose of work.
EU citizens and their family members have the same status as citizens of the Czech Republic under the Employment Act. Furthermore, the Act also provides for which foreigners, who are no longer EU citizens or their family members, have free access to the labour market. Other foreigners need either a work permit or a residence permit to work in the Czech Republic. This article deals with the holders of the so-called blue and employee cards.
Change of employer, job title or place of work
If a foreigner holding an employment card plans to change his job title, place of work or employer, the employer has to enter this new job in the register of job vacancies of the Labour Office by means of a job vacancy report. Here, too, the so-called labour market test has to take place. The change itself must then be notified to the Ministry of the Interior at least 30 days in advance by means of a special form and by submitting the relevant documents, in particular a new employment contract or amendment.
Be aware that in the case of holding an employee card, the change can be announced only after 6 months of the effectiveness of the decision to issue the first employee card. At the same time, a change in respect of an employer that is a labour agency is not possible.
Even in the case of blue cards, these changes are subject to the same procedure, so the need to enter a position in the register of the Labour Office and prior approval by the Ministry of the Interior applies, but only during the first 2 years of residence. In the following years, the foreigner is obliged to notify the Ministry within 3 working days of this change.
For job changes, it is especially important to follow the job title according to the CZ‑ISCO classification of employment. An application for a change of job title must be made when the new position falls under a different CZ-ISCO than the original position.
Change in pay
When changing the amount of pay, several conditions should be taken into account. On the one hand, there are statutory limits (minimum wage, guaranteed wage); on the other hand, the salary margin is set in the job vacancy report. If the employer wants to adjust the wage outside this range, it is necessary to issue a new report of vacancies, since the Labour Office has carried out a labour market test on the basis of certain assumptions. If we have the position of a cleaner with a salary of CZK 15,000 or CZK 50,000, it is clear that also the interest in the position will be different. The change in the salary should always be reflected in writing either in the employee’s payment assessment or the amendment to the employment contract.
Blue card holders are further subject to the condition that the amount of the agreed gross monthly or annual wage corresponds to at least 1.5 times the average gross annual wage announced by the communication from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Since 1 May 2020, this amount is CZK 51,187.5. If the job vacancy report has been registered with a lower wage, there is no need to make a new report; however, it is necessary to increase the wage in a timely manner in accordance with the communication from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Change in working time
Also, in the event of a change in working time, it is also necessary to keep in mind the rules applicable to the issue of the employee and blue card. In the case of an employee card, the weekly working time shall not be less than 15 hours. Since working time is part of the job vacancy report, the change of time must also be reflected in the job vacancy report and the relevant documents. In the case of a blue card, it is then necessary for the foreigner to be employed full-time, i.e. for a statutory weekly working time. Therefore, if we would like to shorten the working time of a foreigner with a blue card, it is also necessary to change the foreigner’s residence permit to an employee card.
For both employee and blue cardholders, it is possible for a foreigner to take unpaid leave. However, its scope should not be such as to give rise to a reason for the cancellation of the card for non-performance of the purpose of the stay, so it should not cover more than half of the period of stay.
If necessary, termination of employment with a foreigner is the same as for citizens of the Czech Republic/EU. In addition, the employer is obliged, in respect of all foreigners (including EU citizens), to inform the competent Labour Office within 10 days of the termination of their employment relationship. The employee card holder himself has a period of 60 days to find a new job, and then he can apply for a change of employer at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic (so-called notice of the change of employer). In the event that a foreigner does not find a new employer, the validity of the employment card expires on the date of termination of employment (although the validity of the residence card is often longer). A blue card holder should not remain unemployed for more than 3 months.
Employing foreigners brings many aspects that need to be looked out for. In general, it is advisable to check in every change to a foreigner’s employment that the change is not subject to the obligation to report to the Ministry of the Interior or the Labour Office. In certain cases, it could be illegal work, where the penalty for employers reaches up to CZK 10 million and at the same time, foreigners risk administrative expulsion of up to 5 years.
Dual employee card
A dual employee card acts as a long-term residence permit for employment purposes for foreigners from third countries. The card allows these foreigners to stay and work in the Czech Republic without needing an employment work permit. The card is issued for a maximum of two years. In order to issue an employee card, it is necessary to issue a job vacancy report to the Labour Office.
The Blue Card also serves as a long-term residence permit for the purpose of employment for foreigners from third countries, so the foreigner is again not obliged to obtain a work permit. However, the Blue Card can only be issued to employment requiring a high qualification, which means a duly completed higher education or higher vocational training, which lasted at least 3 years.
Job vacancy reports and labour market test
For the employment of foreigners under both dual employment and blue cards, the employer must first enter a new job in the register of job vacancies of the Labour Office by means of a job vacancy report. It has to be publicly accessible for at least 30 days during which the labour market test takes place (in the case of certain positions, the time may be reduced to 10 days). Whether it is possible to fill the vacancy by applicants or job seekers from among the Czech Republic or the EU citizens, is evaluated by the Labour Office, by monitoring and evaluating supply and demand on the labour market.