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Labour Inspectorate or how labour inspection works

Labour inspections sound really scary for many employers. But it has an important place and in some situations it can not only save money, but even save lives. In this article, we’ll look at what a labour inspectorate actually does, what powers it has, and how the inspection itself takes place.

8 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

What is an occupational safety inspectorate

The Labour Inspectorate or State Labour Inspection Office (SUIP) is a body under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. It has a decentralised system – in total there are eight labour inspectorates at regional level in the country. Its main objective is to monitor compliance with the obligations set out in labour and occupational safety regulations(OSH). Its functioning is mainly regulated by the Labour Inspection Act, the Employment Act and the Child Care Act.

What the labour inspectorate does

As we said above, the labour inspectorate checks compliance with labour and occupational safety rules. Specifically, these rules concern:

  • remuneration of employees, compensation of wages or salary and reimbursement of expenses to employees,
  • compliance with maximum working hours and rest periods,
  • ensuring safety at work,
  • ensuring the safe operation of technical installations with a higher risk to life and health, and rules relating to the safe operation of dedicated technical installations,
  • theemployment of female employees, employees who are minors, employees caring for children and employees who have demonstrated that they themselves are predominantly caring for a natural person who is considered to be dependent on the assistance of another natural person under a special legal regulation at level II (moderate dependence), level III (severe dependence) or level IV (total dependence),
  • the pursuit of artistic, cultural, sporting and advertising activities by children,

Hint: Child labour was covered in our other article on the Prohibition of Child Labour. In that article, you will learn when helping parents or other relatives is desirable and okay, and when it is okay to cross the line into prohibited child labour.

  • observance of the announcement and conduct of a public call or selection procedure for filling the post of an official or for filling the post of a senior official of a local government unit,
  • care of a child in a playgroup
  • protection of whistleblowers,
  • collective agreements, in so far as they provide for individual employment rights of employees arising from legal and internal regulations,
  • internal regulations where they create rights for employees.

The Labour Inspectorate also monitors compliance with the legal provisions governing the legal status of employees posted to work in the context of transnational service provision. In addition, it is also in charge of monitoring activities in the field of employment, i.e. in particular compliance with the compulsory share, agency employment and undeclared work.

However, the Labour Inspectorate is not only an inspector, it also offers advice. It provides this to employees and employers in the field of labour relations and employment protection. It can advise you, for example, on the requirements of an employment contract or when you are entitled to severance pay. You can ask for advice in person, by phone or by email.

Tip: A lot of people don’t know that many government agencies offer counselling. One of them is the Job Centre, which provides a range of counselling services free of charge. You can find out more in our article on What the Job Centre can offer.

What powers the labour inspectorate has

Labour inspectors have the right to:

  • To carry out inspections. The inspected person himself or his representative (e.g. a member of the statutory body or an employee of the inspected person) must be present at the start of the inspection. At the same time, the inspector has the right to verify the identity of these persons.
  • Enter the premises, equipment and production facilities of the inspected person.
  • Require the provision of true and complete information.
  • Require the submission of original or certified copies of documents and other documents, data records on computer storage media, extracts and source codes of programs, samples of materials, substances or products necessary for the inspection.
  • To make copies of parts of documents or extracts from documents for the purpose of proving the lack of compliance with obligations identified during the inspection. For this purpose, the inspector may use photographic or video documentation.
  • In certain cases (e.g. where there is a risk of delay), the inspector may seize documents, materials, etc.
  • Question the staff of the inspected person without the presence of other persons on matters related to the inspection being carried out.
  • Order the site where the accident occurred to remain in its original condition until the investigation of the work injury is completed or the site is sufficiently documented.

Tip: Have you had an accident at work? What are you entitled to, what is pain and suffering and how is it determined? Is the procedure different if you caused the injury in part by your own breach of duty? And why is your employer allowed to give you notice in connection with an accident at work? You can find out all this in our next article on What does an accident at work mean?

  • Issue a decision to prohibit the use of workplaces, equipment, substances materials, etc. It may also prohibit the performance of work or activities that immediately endanger the safety of employees or other natural persons until the defect is rectified.
  • Impose measures on the inspected person to remedy the deficiencies found during the inspection and set reasonable time limits for their removal.
  • To become acquainted with classified information.
  • To assess the design documentation of selected buildings and to apply occupational safety requirements during the commissioning of buildings
  • To control the causes of work-related accidents.

What labour inspection involves in practice

Labour inspections are planned in advance on the basis of an annual programme. However, they can also be unplanned, usually on the initiative of or as a result of workplace injuries. The inspector usually reports the inspection in advance. The inspection itself then covers everything that is needed. We discussed what it may include in the previous chapter. The total length of the inspection varies from case to case. In general, however, it is most often an hour to a full day.

Once the inspection has been carried out, you will receive a report, usually within 30 days (up to 60 days for particularly complex cases). The report will tell you the outcome of the inspection – that is, where you have deficiencies and how the breaches occurred. You may then be given a plan of action to remedy the deficiencies and a time limit for doing so. The progress of their implementation can then be monitored by the inspector. It is also possible that you may be fined.

Appeal

You can appeal the decision. We will be happy to help you with your appeal. Describe your case to us and we will review it within 24 hours and develop a proposal for legal services to resolve it. If you then decide to put it in our hands, the drafting is free of charge.

If there is a violation that causes an immediate threat to life or health, the inspector may prohibit or restrict the normal operation of the workplace. This most often involves taking various machines and equipment out of service.

How to lodge a complaint with the labour inspectorate

If you suspect a violation of labour law or occupational safety, you have the option of submitting a complaint to the labour inspectorate for inspection. To do this, you must clearly identify the employer concerned. The name of the company or employer, the company registration number and the place of work must be provided. It is also a good idea to submit evidence (e.g. an employment contract that violates the rules).

You can submit your complaint electronically via email or inbox, by post, by phone or in person. You can also use electronic submissions directly on the SUIP website. If you want to be notified of the outcome of the inspection, then please include your name, address and telephone or other contact details with your complaint. You do not have to worry about the inspected person finding out about your complaint. The Labour Inspectorate has a duty of confidentiality.

Tip: Is your employer not complying with employment law? Doesn’t your employer take legal action and you’re not sure if you’ll win? We will assess your chances of success in court and suggest a solution that will lead to the desired outcome.

However, it must be taken into account that not all problems in the employment environment fall under the Labour Inspectorate. These problems are not dealt with by the Labour Inspectorate:

  • Employer insolvency. This area falls under the competence of the Labour Office.
  • Social security or health insurance irregularities. This falls under the jurisdiction of the Social Security Administration and your health insurance company.
  • Recognition of a work-related injury. In the event of a dispute with the employer, the final decision falls within the jurisdiction of the competent court.
  • Recognition of occupational disease. This is a matter for the health authorities and the regional health stations.

Tip: Are you at risk of occupational disease? Everyone has a slightly different idea of occupational disease. Could it be an illness that we have been suffering from for a month or two? Or should it be accompanied by irreversible consequences? And is it possible to understand as an occupational disease, for example, the back pain or headache that we always suffer from in the evening after work? We have addressed some of the uncertainties we encounter on the subject of occupational diseases in our next article.

  • Complaints about hygiene in the working environment (lighting, ventilation, temperature, noise, provision of protective drinks in the workplace, weight limits for manual handling). This falls within the remit of the regional health stations.

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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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