The changes to the Slovakian Labour Code (Act No. 311/2001 Coll.) partially triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and entering into force on 1st March 2020, deal with provisions on remote work, assignment of employees between parent and subsidiary companies, representativeness criteria of employers’ organisations and trade unions, and fixed-term contracts.
Concerning telework, the Code establishes the rights and obligations of the employee and the employer, and requires mutual agreement as well as some basic planning for this modality of work (versus something that happened on an exceptional basis) and working time organisation. The new provisions of the Code oblige the employers to reimburse the employee for increased costs related to remote work such as expenses for material and tools. Any issue related to internet connectivity or technical equipment that is negatively impacting the work performance shall be immediately communicated to the employer.
The Code introduces also a right to disconnect during the weekly rest and at the end of the workday, unless overtime has been ordered or agreed, as well as during holidays and public holidays.
New provisions of the Code contain more relaxed rules concerning the assignment of employees between “controlling entities and controlled company if the need arises”. Objective operational reasons and minimum employment duration are no longer required for temporary assignment.
On the representativeness criteria, the Code modifies the previous legislation on the employers and workers participation in the tripartite institution Economic and Social Council of the Slovak Republic. The amendment requires that three associations be chosen each by workers and employers to be members of the Council. If the chosen associations do not meet the statutory criteria of size, number of represented employees/employers, and role, then the criteria of number of workers/employers represented is dropped in favour of the other criteria. The association representing more employees/employers can apply to become a member.
This amendment to the Code also modifies the scope of the union in the workplace so that it represents only employees that have a relationship with the employer.
In June, and valid only during an “extraordinary situation”, the Labour Code rules on fixed-term contract were amended. A fixed-term contract could have a maximum of two years duration and be renewed maximum twice within the period of two years.
This amendment that is still in force allows the fixed-term contract to be extended once and for a maximum of one additional year. In unionised companies, the employer must consult the extension of the fixed-term contract with the unions.