The National Council of the Slovak Republic adopted on 4 October 2022 an amendment to the Labour Code (in Slovakian « zákon č. 311/2001 Z. z. ») by law no. 350/2022 entered into force on 1 November 2022. According to the explanatory report to the law, the amendments were adopted mainly in order to carry out the transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union, as well as Directive (EU) 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers. Several provisions of these directives have already been incorporated into other legal regulations to some extent. The aim of the newly adopted legislation is to strengthen the related legal framework.
Termination of the employment contract following the exercise of rights by the employee
The amendment to the Labour Code should allow employees exercising their legitimate rights (e.g. whistleblowing) to benefit from protection against dismissal thanks to new targeted measures. The new law allows the employee to claim in an employment dispute that the termination of the employment relationship occurred due to the active exercise of rights carried out by the employee. Yet, in such a case, the employee is obliged to provide a proof that he has exercised his legitimate rights (eg. by providing an e-mail) and the emloyer bears the burden of proof that the employment relationship was terminated for other reasons than the ones invoked by the employee. The law also introduced several duties for the employer, such as to examine the received complaint and respond to it within the given time period or to ensure the reparation of the violation of the law.
Mandatory elements of the employment contract and provision of other essential information to the employee
The new law has simplified the mandatory content of the employment contract that shall include the following data: the type of work and its brief characteristics, the first day of work, the salary conditions and the workplace. It is now possible to provide for several places of work in the contract, as well as the possibility for the employee to specify the place of work himself.
The employer can inform the employee of the other essential information by including them directly in the employment contract or notifying them to the employee in writing. The amendment introduced the possibility for the employer to notify these information in electronic form, provided that the employee has access to it, can save and print it, and the employer keeps a record of its sending or receipt.
In the case of performance of work outside the territory of the Slovak Republic, the employer must inform the employee about the currency in which the salary is to be paid, any other pecuniary or in-kind benefits related to the performance of the work and the conditions of his possible repatriation.
The amendment also requires the employer to inform the employee about the deadline for bringing an action for invalidity of the dismissal, as well as the right to professional training provided by the employer.
The new law imposes on the employer extensive information obligations in the event that the employee works more than three hours for four consecutive weeks on the basis of agreements for work performed outside the employment relationship (i.e. contracts according to Section 223 up to 228a of the Labour Code). In accordance with the principles of transparency and predictability of working conditions, the employer is (with certain exceptions) obliged to provide the employee with information on the date and time during which he requires the employee to work at least 24 hours in advance. If the employer fails to fulfil the given requirements, the employee is not obliged to perform the work. In case the work is canceled less than 24 hours before, the employee is entitled to compensation in the amount of 30% of his expected salary.
Performance of other remunerated activities by the employee
From now on, the employer may not prohibit the employee from performing other remunerated activities outside the established working time. However, the employee still needs the employer’s written consent in case he wants to perform any remunerated activity that competes with the employer’s object of activity.
Duration of employment and work time
The new law allows the employee to ask to change for a more stable form of employment. The employee with a fixed-term or part-time contract, having worked for more than six months and whose probation period has expired, may ask the employer to change to indefinite-term or full-time work., provided that the employee has not submitted such a request within the last twelve months. The employer must provide the employee with a reasonable, objectively justified and non-discriminatory written answer within one month from the date of submission of the demand.
The probation period in a fixed-term employment relationship may not exceed half of the agreed duration of the employment contract.
From now on, in the event that an employee (female or male) who permanently takes care of their child under the age of eight asks to work from home or telecommute, the employer must respond to this request or justify its refusal within a reasonable time.
The new law introduced the concept of paternity leave, which conceptually replaces the parental leave for fathers that previously existed. Paternity leave is granted to the father for a period of 28 weeks from the day of the child’s birth. In specific cases, the duration of paternity leave is extended to 31 weeks (for single men) or 37 weeks (in the case of multiple births). During paternity leave, the father is entitled to paternity benefit, which is paid by the Social Security Agency.
The father is also entitled to leave for 14 consecutive calendar days during the first six weeks following the birth of the child.
The employee who is granted paternity leave benefits from the same protection as the mother during maternity leave (eg dismissal, return to work after paternity leave, adjustment of working conditions, etc.).