The draft amendment to the Labour Code, which was released for comment procedure on 12 September 2022, introduces a number of significant changes for both employees and employers. The Labour Code will now regulate remote work, which is already widely used in practice. New rules on electronic signing and delivery will bring greater flexibility to employment relationships. The Czech Republic will transpose European directives through changes to work agreements outside employment relationship (DPČ, DPP), employee information and working conditions for carers.
New rules for remote work
Remote work (e.g. working from home) will be allowed under the amendment only on the basis of a written agreement between the employee and the employer. Employers will be obliged to reimburse employees for gas, electricity, heating, water etc. an amount of CZK 2.80 per each hour of work commenced. Employers will also be obliged to ensure health and safety for remote work and its supervision. Employees of the employer will be able to request remote work at any time; any rejection by the employer will have to be justified in writing.
For parents with children under the age of 15 and other carers, the employer will have to allow remote work unless serious operational reasons or the nature of the work performed prevent it. This is a requirement of Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council on work-life balance for parents and carers and of the repeal of Council Directive 2010/18/EU. There will also be changes to parental leave in line with this Directive. Employees will now have to apply for parental leave in writing at least 14 days before they intend to take it. It will be possible to submit the request repeatedly.
Working based on agreement to become closer to a traditional employment relationship
Further obligations for employers will be brought by the amendment of the rules for agreements to perform work and agreements to complete a job (DPČ, DPP). In accordance with Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union (the “TPWC Directive”), employers will have to schedule employees’ working hours. The provisions of the Labour Code on holidays and impediments to work will now also apply to these employees, as they do to employees in an employment relationship. Employees will have to be paid for work on bank holidays, night work, work in difficult environments and work at weekends. On the whole, this will bring the conditions of working based on agreement closer to those of employment relationship.
Wider information obligation
The transposition of the TPWC Directive will also extend the range of information that an employer must provide to an employee within the information on the scope of the employment relationship and will introduce new obligations for informing employees posted in another country. The deadline for compliance with the information obligation is to be significantly reduced from one month to only seven days.
Electronic signature will facilitate the conclusion of contracts
New rules on electronic signing and delivery will facilitate remote conclusion of employment contracts, amendments and termination agreements. Signing a document with a simple electronic signature and delivering it to the employee’s email address will be sufficient for conclusion. The stricter delivery rules and the higher-level electronic signature requirement will remain only for termination notice and other unilateral termination documents, removal from and resignation from a managerial position, salary assessment and a record of a breach of the temporary incapacity to work scheme.
The various amendments to the Labour Code should also be reflected in other legislation, such as the Code of Civil Procedure, the Labour Inspection Act or the Income Tax Act.