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What does it mean to work on an “IČO”?

Does your employer offer you a job with an IČO instead of a regular employment contract? What does this mean for you and what to watch out for?

Seznámení s obchodními podmínkami
4 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

Employer costs per employee

Employees are very expensive. In order to pay an employee a net wage of CZK 20,000, an employer must pay approximately CZK 5,000 more in gross wages. On top of this, there are health and social security contributions that the employer pays on top of the gross wage. The total wage costs for a given employee then amount to almost CZK 35 000.

Employee vs self-employed

If the employer hires the same person as a sole trader, i.e. as a self-employed person, the employer will not have to pay any state contributions on his/her behalf and the person’s net income will increase. Nevertheless, it cannot be said unequivocally that the self-employed person’s status is more advantageous than that of an employee. In addition to some disadvantages in the area of social security, it should be pointed out in particular that the Labour Code does not protect self-employed workers and does not guarantee them, for example, a minimum wage or protection in case their employer wants to part with them. Self-employed persons also have to deal with tax returns and health and social insurance contributions themselves, which means that this also means a considerable administrative burden. Or extra costs in the form of an accountant’s fee.

It’s mainly worth it for the employer

From the employer’s point of view, it is therefore very advantageous to make the employee self-employed. However, the law does not always allow such a change. The principle is that employees must always perform so-called dependent work in an employment relationship and not as a sole trader. In such a case, concluding an employment contract or one of the agreements on work performed outside the employment relationship will be necessary. In the event of a breach of this rule, not only the employer but also the employee is liable to a fine.

What is dependent work

What is meant by dependent work? It should be work where the employee is under the regular control of the employer, who gives specific instructions on how the work should be performed. He or she sets the hours and place of work, and bears the cost and responsibility for the outcome of the employee’s actions.

Tip: How to set up a relationship with a service provider? Does signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) imply a lack of trust towards the other party? And what form of cooperation with a freelancer should be chosen so that it is not a so-called “shvarc system”? In our video, we focus on these and other aspects of the relationship between entrepreneurs and suppliers in the form of freelancers or smaller companies.

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Our team of experienced attorneys will help you solve any legal issue. Within 24 hours we’ll evaluate your situation and suggest a step-by-step solution, including all costs. The price for this proposal is only CZK 690, and this is refunded to you when you order service from us.

Self-employed workers can be hired for a one-off service

The opposite of dependent work would be a situation where an employer orders certain services from a self-employed worker by articulating what outcome it expects, but leaving the details (the method of performance, the time and place where the work will be performed, etc.) to its contractor, who would fulfill its obligation at its own expense and responsibility. Example: a company orders a graphic design of advertising leaflets from a self-employed person.

Illegal employment

In real life, it is very difficult to assess whether a particular activity falls within the definition of dependent work or not. There have been many cases where entrepreneurs have tried to make tradesmen out of workers who it was clear were in fact doing dependent work – after one such entrepreneur, the illegal employment system is now called the ‘shvarcsystem’.

Reject the employer’s idea

Particularly in the case of employees who were previously employed and are now to be newly converted to the self-employed scheme, there is a relatively high risk that the activity they are performing will be considered dependent work and thus the newly introduced scheme will be in breach of the law.

Incidentally, in 2017, even the CJEU ruled that under such a “shvarcsystem”, the relationship may be retrospectively assessed as an employment relationship, which may have unpleasant consequences for employers.

Not worth the risk

Even if this change is legal, you need to consider the risks involved: in particular, that your employer will one day stop giving you contracts and you will find yourself out of work without any right to notice and severance pay. We would therefore not recommend the procedure proposed by your employer.

Tip: You may work freelance for up to twelve hours a day, but if you or your child fall ill, you are much worse off than your friends with a contract and eight-hour days. Are there ways to improve your situation and get a better position as a self-employed person? We’ve looked at sick pay and sick pay for the self-employed in a separate article.

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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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