One of the most significant changes introduced by the amendment is the regulation of annual leave. The new concept of annual leave and its calculation is based on the employee’s weekly working time and is expressed in hours, while maintaining the current minimum statutory holiday entitlement of four weeks. Today, however, leave is in most cases based on weeks, not on actual hours worked. Instead, the new system will take into account how many hours an employee has worked and will entitle him or her to leave accordingly.
Under the new concept of leave, the conditions for reducing leave are also modified.It will now be possible to reduce leave only in the event of an employee’s unexcused absence from a shift, by deducting the number of hours unexcusedly missed in the shift from the total number of hours attributable to the employee’s leave in the calendar year. The existing possible penalty for an employee for unexcused absence by reducing the leave by 1 to 3 days, if any, is reduced to the number of hours actually missed and thus mitigated in favour of the employee
This is intended to be fairer in general, especially for employees with unevenly distributed working hours.However, the employee will still have to be granted at least two weeks’ leave in a row if he or she requests it.
The amendment will also affect service of process, which is specific in employment law (e.g. termination, reprimands, etc.). A new rule is introduced that the employer delivers the document to the employee in his/her own hands first at the workplace, then by other means. In these situations it is advisable to have the record of service signed by any witnesses.
In the case of service of documents on an employee by post, it is now stipulated that the employer will send the document to the employee’s last address given in writing by the employee. It will therefore be up to the employee themselves to actively report in writing the correct and up-to-date details for service. In this way, the employee will be partly responsible for the service. In practice, it happens that employees try to avoid, for example, receiving notice and are no longer present at the address specified in the employment contract.
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Probably one of the most interesting innovations is the introduction of the so-called shared workspace. In a nutshell, this works by two or more employees taking turns in one position to fill the hours that do not exceed the weekly work pool.
Thus, one job can be shared by those employees who have an agreed employment relationship with the same type of work and agreed shorter working hours. In this case, however, an individual agreement must be negotiated between the employer and each employee. Such an agreement can then be terminated bilaterally or unilaterally without giving any reason and with 15 days’ notice.If the agreement is terminated with only one employee, this has no effect on the existence of the employment relationship.
This legislation also provides for a fixed allocation of working time between employees in the form of a schedule submitted to the employer in advance in writing, without the possibility of substitution between employees. Any substitution is then possible only with the employee’s consent. This measure is intended to avoid a situation where both employees are constantly on call.
The minimum and guaranteed wage in the case of a job-sharing arrangement will in principle correspond to a proportion (i.e. usually half) of the minimum wage, since the minimum wage applies to the job as such.
The key to success for the proper functioning of a job share is the selection of a colleague with whom the other employee will be able to communicate well. It is also important to ensure that tasks are divided precisely. It is not enough to simply define working hours, but it is also necessary to agree on the assumption of responsibility for individual tasks. It may therefore be standard practice to overlap the working hours of employees so that tasks are handed over and other organisational matters are dealt with during this time.
The main reason for introducing job sharing is to allow some freedom in employment relations. Due to the record low unemployment rate and the fact that young people in particular tend to favour lifestyle over career, employers are forced to resort to various atypical forms of employment. Although this is rather new for us, it is becoming more and more popular in countries to the west of the Czech Republic. Currently, in the Czech Republic, about 7% of employers use a form of agreement that is very similar to job sharing, whereas in neighbouring Germany, for example, half of all companies use job sharing.
A shared workplace brings with it many benefits for both parties. It is calculated to increase the efficiency of employees and is a more creative solution to a factual situation. Since it is said that more heads know more, it can also eliminate possible mistakes. For the employees, it is then a great opportunity to develop in other directions or spend more time with family during the rest of the week.
Other planned changes already foreseen in the previous version of the amendment include, for example, the emphasis on the rule of equal treatment of members of the European Works Council and the European Negotiating Committee compared to other employee representatives. Also of interest is the exclusion of the application of the time limit provisions of the Civil Code in employment relations, the abolition of additional agreed overtime in the health sector, minor changes in the area of posting of employees and the regulation of one-off compensation for survivors, and the abolition of the obligation to issue an employment certificate for certain employees working under a work performance agreement.
Compared to the previous text, the introduction of a large-scale minimum wage indexation mechanism has been abandoned and it will therefore remain up to the government to set the amount of the minimum wage annually by decree.
The effectiveness of the amendment is staggered, with most of the provisions coming into force on 1 July 2020, the provisions relating to the foreign posting of employees coming into force on 30 July 2020 in accordance with the European Directive, and the provisions governing holidays not coming into force until 1 January 2021 for obvious reasons.