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Newsletter - Labour Law

2019. January 27.

As of 1 January 2019, the modification of the Labour Code established by Act No. 116 of 2018 has come into effect. Changes affect – among others – the following main topics:
The definition of workday and work week has changed. The previous regulation stipulated that the employer had the right to define a given continuous 24 or 168-hour period, if such period did not meet the calendar day/week. The new regulation, however, defines the workday/work week as a continuous period, if the beginning and end of the daily work time can be scheduled on different calendar days under the work schedule.
 
1. Workday, work week
 
The definition of workday and work week has changed. The previous regulation stipulated that the employer had the right to define a given continuous 24 or 168-hour period, if such period did not meet the calendar day/week. The new regulation, however, defines the workday/work week as a continuous period, if the beginning and end of the daily work time can be scheduled on different calendar days under the work schedule.
 
2. Work time frame
 
The act increases the maximum period of the work time frame to 36 months in case of the disposition of a collective agreement, provided that it is justified by objective, technical or organizational reasons. However, if there are objective, technical or organizational reasons – according to the dispositions of a collective agreement – the weekly work time, including overtime shall be calculated in the average of a 12-month period, which can still not exceed a weekly 48 hours.
 
3. Work time schedule
 
The rules of scheduling the work time have changed as well, as of 1 January 2019, the schedule is unequal even in case if the employer schedules the weekly rest day or rest time differently beyond deviating from the daily working time. Working time shall be scheduled for one week, but it shall be communicated 168 hours in advance of the start of the scheduled daily working time (previously, such time was seven days). The employer may reschedule the communicated schedule with an at least 96-hour notice, provided that an unpredictable circumstance emerges in its operation or business (this term was 4 days previously). A legislative novelty is that at the written request of the employee, the rescheduling may take place within the 96-hour deadline. Previously, it had been an established practice between the parties to modify the schedule by a mutual agreement, even though it was not explicitly written in the Labour Code - now, the act provides an explicit right to do so.
 
4. Weekly rest day
For employees employed in continuous, multi-shift or seasonal activity, the Labour Code requires to schedule at least one weekly rest day a month.
 
5. Overtime
 
The most disputed change in the Labour Code is increasing the maximum limit of overtime. The limit of yearly overtime remains 250 hours, in case of collective agreement, 300 hours, but under the agreement of the employer and the employee such time can be increased by 150 hours and 100 hours respectively (voluntary overtime). This agreement may certainly be terminated by the employee, but only for the end of the calendar year.
The goal of the modification is to meet the needs of a more flexible scheduling and work organization, arisen due to recent economic trends. Beyond that, the legislation wants to ensure higher priority of the agreement of the parties, namely between the employer and the employee. Ideally, such agreements are based on balanced conditions, however, in reality, taking particularly into consideration the verticality of the employment relationship, such agreements may be the result of the employer’s influence. It shall be noted, however, that some employees may value the possibility of extra overtime.
 
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