Chapters of the article
Basic principles of labour relations
TheLabour Code is built on liberal principles and the basic principle is “what is not prohibited is permitted.” Due to the assumption that the employee has a weaker bargaining position in the relationship, some of his rights are specifically addressed. As you read the various provisions of the Labour Code, note terms such as “must”, “must not”, “is obliged to”, “is prohibited”. This signals that individual agreement is not possible here. Section 363 of the Labour Code also lists important provisions that can only be derogated from in favour of the employee.
Very important principles are the principle of equal treatment of employees and the prohibition of discrimination against them. Your employer must not treat you in a way that is less favourable than others, for example because of your faith, race, gender or sexual orientation. Nor should they allow similar types of treatment of employees in the workplace, such as forms of bullying, harassment or victimisation. The courts have made it clear in their case law what exactly constitutes such conduct.
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Establishment of the employment relationship
The central part of the Labour Code is devoted to the employment relationship, which is the dominant and fundamental relationship compared to other employment relationships. The Labour Code knows two ways of establishing an employment relationship. One is appointment, the other, which the vast majority of us have encountered, is the employment contract.
It is a bilateral expression of the will of the employee and the employer aimed at the establishment of an employment relationship. Its essential elements are the type of work to be performed, the place of performance and the date of commencement of work. The Labour Code allows a relatively high degree of flexibility in the form and content of the employment contract. Therefore, it is good to know not only the essential elements, but also what is appropriate to include in an employment contract to set up a secure relationship with your employer. This can include, but is not limited to, probationary periods, salary levels, secondments, special notice periods and so on.
Working conditions of employees
Working conditions can be understood in a broad sense as a satisfactory working environment, safety in the workplace and various actions and procedures leading to employee satisfaction. This term can also cover other circumstances under which you do your job, such as working hours and their scheduling or rest breaks.
Thescheduling of working time must reconcile the economic and operational needs of the employer, the statutory regulation and its limits, which cannot be deviated from, and, last but not least, the protection of the employee’s health. You will therefore find a number of provisions that your employer must absolutely ensure. These include, for example, the inclusion of breaks after no more than 6 hours of continuous work and at least 11 hours between two shifts.
Tip: The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is currently coming up with the most extensive amendment to the Labour Code in recent years. It responds to the current trend of teleworking by providing clearer rules. Changes will also be made to the processes of service of process at the workplace, and clarification of rights will also await those working on agreements outside the employment relationship. We have covered the planned changes in a separate article.
Termination of employment
Probably the most touched upon part of the employment law are the provisions concerning thetermination of employment. Under what circumstances and how to give notice, when the employment relationship ends and vice versa, when your employer can validly give notice.
The basic rule in this respect is that the employee does not have to have any specific reason for terminating the employment relationship. He or she only has to respect the written form of the notice and the subsequent notice period, which is usually two months. However, it only runs from the first day of the month following the month in which you gave notice.
So, for example, if you give notice on 10 October, the two-month notice period starts on 1 November. For this reason, notices are most often not served on the other party until the end of the month.
On the other hand, the employer must strictly comply with one of the grounds for notice set out in Section 52 of the Labour Code. This again fulfils the protection of the employee as the weaker party in the relationship.
Obviously, it is mainly wages that constitute the main motivating element of many employment relationships. In this respect, labour law sets both the minimum wage to which you are entitled and, for employees of the state, municipalities or contributory organisations, the basic salary tables. For employees, the conversion of gross and net wages and the setting of the wage in the form of its various components is also crucial. However, all this is regulated in detail by other legislation and is not found in the Labour Code.
Obstacles at work
Quite often in the life of every employee there are situations that prevent him/her from working for his/her employer at a given moment, although he/she should. Whether it is accompanying a family member to the doctor, sick leave or nursing a family member. Even in these situations, the Labour Code protects the employee and requires the employer to excuse the employee’s absence from work, provide him/her with time off work and, in some cases, compensation for wages or salary.
There are not many regulations that we would recommend even for the library of those who are not professionally involved in law. But if we were looking for such, the Labour Code would certainly be at the top of the list. As you can see from the preceding lines, at least a brief reading and knowledge of the basic rights in the employment process can ensure compliance and noticeably improve your bargaining position.