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Business trip: what are you entitled to?

Your boss wants to send you to a business meeting abroad, combined with a two-day business trip, and you are wondering what will happen to your overtime pay or bonuses? We’re probably going to disappoint you, but overtime probably won’t be involved in this case. Are you still entitled to any benefits or is business travel one big disadvantage? We summarise everything in detail in our article.

6 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Business trip vs. working hours

If you spend two days on a business trip, it will probably not be treated as many hours of overtime. This is because you are not normally working continuously. A certain part of the day on a business trip is spent driving or travelling in general, and only a smaller part of the day is spent actually doing the work, e.g. attending a business meeting in another city. The rest of the day is filled with things like rest, sleeping in a hotel, etc.

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So what rewards do you get from your business trip?

Your business trip and your normal working hours do not have to overlap. Often, you will leave home much earlier than you would for a normal work trip, or you may stay overnight and spend much more time away from home than usual. What about pay for work in this case?

On the positive side, even if you spend just one hour of your entire journey on real work (e.g. a meeting), your pay or salary will not be reduced. This is not your fault, of course, and the law says it is an obstacle to work on the part of theemployer. So you don’t have to do anything extra and you are entitled to be compensated for your wages or salary at the rate of your average earnings.

In addition, your employer must, of course, reimburse you for your travel expenses, which are mainly travel and meal expenses. However, if you are planning to go to the most expensive restaurant in town and then present your boss with a receipt, we must disappoint you. As a rule, the amount of meal allowances is set by individual employers themselves; the Labour Code only sets a lower limit for the business sector.

From 2023 onwards, meal allowance rates will increase:

For each calendar day of a business trip, the employer will provide a minimum of:

  • cZK129 if the business trip lasts between 5 and 12 hours
  • cZK196 if the business trip lasts more than 12 hours, but not more than 18 hours
  • cZK307 if the working trip lasts more than 18 hours

For each calendar day of the business trip, the employer shall provide the employee in the non-business sector with a meal allowance of:

  • cZK129 to CZK 153 if the working trip lasts between 5 and 12 hours
  • cZK196 to CZK236 if the working trip lasts more than 12 hours, but not more than 18 hours
  • cZK307 to CZK367 if the business trip lasts more than 18 hours

What do you not get paid for?

As we have indicated above, although you may spend 48 hours on a business trip, you will usually only receive your normal salary or salary replacement, or the travel allowances mentioned above. This is because it is not usually overtime work for which you would be entitled to extra pay. It would only be overtime if you were actually working (for example, conducting business) during a period that does not fall within your working shift.

However, if you travel home from a business trip on a rest day or in the evening, for example, then this time would not fall within the scheduled shift and the employee would only be entitled to travel expenses for this time. The Labour Code does not entitle you to wages or compensatory time off.

Tip: For more information on wage compensation and calculating average earnings, see our article.

How not to lose on a business trip?

Compensation alone does not usually compensate you for spending, for example, two days away from home and not being able to use your time as you would like. Sometimes this involves some logistical and organisational adjustments, for example, regarding children or pets. If you know that business trips will be part of your work schedule frequently, think about some bonuses or perks early on. It is ideal to agree everything in advance when you draw up your employment contract.

Working travel for professional drivers

However, driving a vehicle is considered to be work if the employee drives the vehicle and the type of work agreed in the employment contract is driving.

However, a different procedure applies if you drive a so-called referent vehicle. This means that for an employee who drives a so-called referent vehicle, which is usually an employer’s vehicle that the employee is allowed to use for transport as part of his/her work duties (or even privately). In such a case, the driving itself is not the performance of work duties.

Thetime spent in the means of transport can only be work for the professional driver. However, some employers may negotiate a contract of employment with employees who frequently drive their company or own private car on business trips to perform the work of a driver of a reference vehicle. In this case, they may also reimburse the employee for driving the vehicle.

Other specifics apply to professional drivers during travel. Because they have a responsibility for not only their own lives, but also the lives of others. Therefore, the law makes sure that they do not drive too tired and intersperse their driving with breaks. Continuous driving time ( drivers of vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes) on a work trip must not exceed 4.5 hours, followed by a break of at least half an hour. However, it may also be divided into two parts of at least 15 minutes each.

Tip: We have covered breaks at work in detail in our article.

Let us illustrate the above with an example from practice:

Mr Konáš has working hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and leaves Olomouc by train at 6 a.m. for a business trip to Prague.
The period from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. is time spent on a business trip, but outside working hours. During this time, the worker is entitled to meals in accordance with the Decree.

From 8 a.m., Mr Konáš’s working hours officially begin. If he is still on the train at that time, this constitutes an obstacle to work on the part of the employer, during which time he is entitled to average wage compensation. The same regime will apply to a stay in Prague when no work meeting is still in progress.

At 10 a.m., the work meeting and the actual performance of work begins, followed by another meeting at 2 p.m., which lasts until 4 p.m.

Thereafter, the employer’s obstruction of work regime applies for half an hour and, from 16:30, Mr Konáš is again entitled only to reimbursement of meals and, of course, travel expenses.

However, if there is another work meeting from 5 pm to 7 pm, this will be overtime work for which additional pay is due. Subsequently, the journey back to Olomouc would again mean only reimbursement of the meal allowance for Mr Konáš.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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