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Determination of wages by wage assessment

When you start a new job, you may find that your employer does not set your wage as part of your contract of employment, but rather enshrines it in the contract that it is set by a pay scale. What difference does this make to you and how might it be less advantageous?

zaměstnavatelka přijímá novou zaměstnankyni, domluva mzdy prostřednictvím mzdového výměru
8 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

How can I determine my wage?

Let’s first summarize what options an employer has for determining wages. There are four in total:

  • Anchoring it in the employment contract – the contract is a bilateral agreement and to change it, including the wage clause, again requires mutual negotiation and the agreement of both parties.
  • Using a collective agreement – in this case, the change in wage is negotiated with the employer by the trade union.
  • By means of a wage assessment – here, although you have an employment contract, the wage is set outside it, the change is determined unilaterally by the employer.
  • By means of an internal regulation.

Are you solving a problem related to payroll setup?

Has your employer unilaterally reduced your wages and do you think he had no right to do so? Was there discrimination in the workplace? Contact us. We will defend your rights and get you what you are entitled to.

What is it and what does a payroll look like?

A wage slip is a document referred to in an employment contract that unilaterally sets the amount of wages to be paid by the employer.
Importantly, the exact form of the pay slip is not specified. This is up to the employer. However, the Labour Code sets limits on what the wage statement must contain. According to the Code, it should not lack the following information:

  • to whom the pay slip relates – i.e. the name and surname, or other personal data of the employee,
  • the amount of the salary,
  • the date of issue,
  • the method of remuneration,
  • the date and place of payment of the salary (if not included in the employment contract),
  • the signature of the employer or the employee designated by the employer,
  • it may also include a place for the employee’s signature, but the signature itself shall not affect its validity.

The amount of wages stated in the wage (or salary) statement is, of course, the gross wage. It is therefore not the amount that lands in your bank account each month. It is less social security and health insurance contributions and income tax, which may be reduced by tax credits. This gives you a net salary, but this may vary slightly from month to month (for example, if the employee falls ill, etc.).

Tip: The term “payroll” is sometimes confused with “pay slip“. However, these are completely different things. A pay slip is a document that is filed by the employer for each employee, containing the totals of all the data for the tax year and the monthly tax bonuses paid. Each year, it is then used to record the tax calculation and the annual settlement of advances and tax credits made for the previous year.

What other requirements must be met?

According to the law, the notice must be delivered to the employee (in person, electronically or by post) no later than the first day of work (unless the wage is fixed by contract). It must be delivered by hand and is required to be in writing and in at least two copies. Should there be a change in the facts set out in the pay slip, the employer must notify the employee in writing no later than the day on which the change takes effect.

Restrictions on unilateral changes in pay

The employer may not act arbitrarily. If it wishes to reduce an employee’s pay, it must comply with the principles relating to the minimum wage and the guaranteed wage. It must also not discriminate against the employee in any way.

Advantages and disadvantages of a pay scale

It has to be said that the disadvantages of this method of setting wages are indeed predominant. As can be seen from the above summary, if you have a wage fixed directly in your contract and your employer wants to change it, he must agree with you and you must confirm the change with your signature.
However, this does not apply in the case of a wage assessment and your boss can reduce your pay (and of course increase it) without your consent. Even if you refuse to accept the new pay slip, it is valid. Your employer should, of course, try to deliver it to you and, if necessary, prove it.

For employers, the advantages of this method of negotiating pay are mainly organisational and administrative. In large companies, it is easier to increase or decrease pay in bulk, without having to go round all the employees individually and negotiate with them, even if it is a pay rise.

In addition, the employer has a relatively free hand in reducing wages in the workplace. However, some legal limits do apply.

Example:

Ms Zdena had a long-standing disagreement with her boss. After she refused his sexual advances several times, his behaviour changed. He started giving her more and more tasks and eventually came up with a pay cut through a change in the pay scale. Ms. Zdena contacted us for help. We sent her employer a pre-suit notice to cease and desist from discriminatory behaviour. No one else in the workplace at the time had their wages reduced and, on the contrary, colleagues were paid more for the same work. This is a clear case of wage discrimination. Our appeal helped Zdenka to return to the same level of income and to make up the wages for the past months. This gave her financial security for the time she was looking for a new job, as she no longer wanted to stay in her old one.

In the above case, it may have been a revenge against the employee, but it was also a way to get her out of the workplace. Unfortunately, this was eventually done, but not under the conditions the employer wanted to set. It is important to know that the employer’s powers have legal limits.

Tip: We have covered discrimination in the workplace and how to defend against it in our separate article.

There are not many advantages of the wage assessment, but one could be found. It concerns extra pay for weekend work, public holidays and night work. These cannot be included in the wage set by the wage assessment, and every hour worked in one of these extraordinary modes should be remunerated separately. In contrast, the employment contract may (but need not) already take account of these non-standard modes and include them.

The same principle applies to overtime work, which must be remunerated separately in the wage assessment.However, if the wage is agreed in an employment or other contract (i.e. it must be a bilateral legal transaction), up to 150 hours of overtime per year can be included in the wage.

Salary schedule for civil servants

In the public sector we also encounter an assessment, but not a wage assessment, but a salary assessment. The remuneration of employees in the public sector is called salary. A pay slip is also a unilateral legal act, which is very similar to a salary slip. However, there are some differences in the determination of the salary of civil servants:

  • For civil servants, there is no other way of determining remuneration (for example, by negotiating it directly in a contract) than the salary schedule.
  • Salary is governed by salary tables, which are reflected in the salary scale itself. The employer is obliged to indicate in the salary schedule the grade and step to which the employee is assigned and the amount of the salary scale and other components of the salary granted on a monthly basis.
  • Changes to the salary tables may thus lead to a mass increase, but also to an across-the-board reduction in the salaries of civil servants.

An available attorney advises:

If your employer has reduced your wages through a wage assessment, check how the wage assessment is referenced in the employment contract.
The wage slip should not be part of the employment contract, either directly in the body of the contract or as an attachment, e.g. “Annex 1, which contains the wage slip, is an integral part of this employment contract”. In such a case, the employer has made the mistake of essentially negotiating the wage directly as part of the contract, which is a case where both parties must agree to the amendment. If you have a similar clause in your contract, you have a good chance of success in claiming the “rest of the wages”. If you are unsure of the wording, please contact us and we will advise you.

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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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