Czech Republic: EU accession - employment

Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has already accepted and implemented the European Community Acquis in the field of Social Policy and Employment and is fully prepared for possible EU accession in 2004.

In the field of labour law and health and safety in the workplace, the relevant Czech legislation achieves, in all respects a level which is comparable to that required by the EU.

The Czech legislature has undertaken a number of steps to adjust the Czech Labour Code (the Act no. 65/1965 Coll.) to EU requirements. The major changes have been implemented by amendment no. 155/2000 Coll.  (the "Euroamendment").

What changes have already been made to the Czech employment law?

The fundamental changes made by the Euroamendment:

  • the principle of equal treatment for men and women and the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of gender, age, disability, race, nationality, beliefs etc.
  • the prohibition of discrimination with a view to sexual harassment
  • the limitation of normal working time to 40 hours a week (with several exceptions regarding two or three-shift or continuous pattern, performing special activities such as mining etc.) and precise limitations on overtime work
  • detailed regulation on the lay-out of working time (start of working hours, duration of the working hours, breaks etc.)
  • obligations being imposed on the employer in respect of information to be provided to the employee on the conditions of employment, specifying:

1) the parties to the employment relationship based on an employment contract

2) the place of work

3) the type of work

4) the notice periods for the termination of the employment contract

5) the annual leave entitlement

6) the salary, remuneration system, date and method of payment

7) the working time lay-out

  • special conditions concerning the termination of the employment relationship by the Employer – strict delimitation of conditions upon which the employment contract may be terminated by the Employer
  • significant provisions concerning the working conditions of (pregnant) women and persons under 18 years of age, increased protection of these persons in the employment relationship
  • regulations on maternity and parental leave (stronger principle of equality between women and men)
  • increased role of trade unions in employment relationships.

What changes to the Czech employment law come into effect on accession?

Some other changes that have already been passed will come into force on the date of the Czech Republic's accession to the EU:

  • provisions relating to the terms of employment of workers delegated to work in other EU countries
  • regulations concerning the access to transnational information and consultation.

What can you do to ensure you comply with the new law and prepare for accession?

Certain questions should be considered to ensure that you are adequately prepared for accession, including ensuring that:

  • as a general rule (there are exceptions), the working time for employees is limited to a maximum of 40 hours per week and overtime work is clearly defined in the labour contract
  • to minimise the risk of potential claims, such as sexual harassment, arising, it is important that the principle of equal treatment of men and women and the principle of non-discrimination is fully adhered to and practices are put in place to ensure such compliance.

For further information please contact Hilary McDowell.