Sickness or leave during the probationary period

The probationary period is the time when the employer checks whether the person is really suitable for the position and when the employee finds out whether the position is really suitable for him/her.

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A probationary period can mean months of uncertainty and worry about losing your position. But sometimes you don’t choose and you can get sick during your probationary period, and what if you need to take a day off for an emergency?

What is a probationary period for

Aprobationary period usually accompanies your start in a new job. It serves as protection for both parties in the working relationship – the employee and the employer. The employee in the sense that he or she can give notice during this period without running out of time. It protects the employer in that it can give notice to its new employee at any time without having to give a reason.

The probationary period is not legally obligatory, but if the employer requires it, then it must follow certain rules. First of all, it is limited to a maximum of 3 months or 6 months for managerial positions. If it is a fixed-term employment relationship, then the probationary period cannot be longer than half of the total duration of the employment relationship (the maximum length of 3 or 6 months still applies). The probationary period may not be extended except in the event of absence from work, for example due to sickness or leave.

Tip: Read more about how the trial period works in our article.

Diseases in the trial period

If an employee falls ill during the probationary period, the probationary period shall be extended by the time not worked. To illustrate an example from practice. An employee starts work on 1 March and a three-month probationary period is agreed in writing. In April, the employee falls ill for a month. This causes the probationary period to end on 1 July, not 1 June.

Therefore, when an employee is unable to work, the employer may not terminate the probationary employment during the first 14 calendar days of illness.

Both parties can give notice of termination of employment during the probationary period, without any reason. Thus, it can be very difficult to defend. However, should the employer terminate it within the first 14 days of sickness, the employee must first notify the employer without undue delay that he insists on continuing to employ him, in which case the employment continues.

If, despite the employee’s notification, the employer continues to insist that termination is justified, it will be up to the employee to take legal action.

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Sick leave during probationary period

If an employee falls ill, he/she will receive wage compensation from the employer in the amount of average earnings until the 14th day of illness. From the 15th day, the employee will be paid sick pay from the Czech Social Security Administration.

Leave during the probationary period

What the Labour Code says

Probationary leave is not customary; the primary purpose of the probationary period is for the employee and the employer to get to know each other. It is therefore not very common for an employee to take leave during the first 3 months in a new job. However, the Labour Code does not restrict the taking of leave in this way and does not lay down any rules other than those applicable outside the probationary period. However, the probationary period is also extended by a full day’s leave. Entitlement to leave, however, does not arise until a certain period of time has been served.

By law, you are entitled to paid leave after you have worked 21 days, which often means you are entitled to leave during your probationary period. Specifically, if you are employed full-time at the standard 40 hours per week, you are entitled to 1.5 days’ holiday after working 21 days if your employer provides the minimum statutory holiday of 4 weeks. If the employer provides 5 weeks’ holiday, then you get 2 days’ holiday.

Tip: Read more about when you are entitled to holiday.

How does unpaid leave work?

If your employer doesn’t agree to paid leave, you can still try to arrange unpaid leave. You can either take this by agreement with your employer or there are cases where you are legally entitled to it. Specifically, this could be a situation where you need to take your grandmother to the doctor or move house. In some cases, your employer must also reimburse you for these days off.

Tip: Read our article on when you are entitled to paid time off.

If you only take unpaid leave on the basis of an agreement with your employer, then you need to take care of your health insurance, as your employer does not pay for it while you are on leave.

What if you have already planned your leave before you start your new job?

If you have already planned and paid for your leave before you start your new job, it is up to your employer and your agreement whether they will accommodate you. It is possible to take paid leave before you are officially entitled to it.

The Labour Code addresses this issue by stating that an employer may give leave to an employee even though he or she has not met the conditions for entitlement to paid leave, provided that the employee meets the conditions for entitlement to leave by the end of the calendar year or employment.

Tip: If you receive notice, it pays to know when you are entitled to severance pay.

If the employment relationship is terminated before the conditions for leave are met, then you will have your holiday pay deducted from your wages or, if your wages are not high enough, you will incur a debt which you will have to pay to your former employer.

Ultimately, it is up to the employer whether or not to allow the employee to take leave during the probationary period. However, with so few days worked, it is highly unlikely that an employer will allow an employee to take leave during the probationary period without prior agreement. It is therefore best to agree the planned leave with the employer before starting work.

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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.

  • 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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