Forums For Adjudicating Employment Disputes
In the Slovak Republic, no special labour courts have been established. However, for proceedings in individual labour disputes and in disputes arising from collective labour relations, strikes and exclusions, the special causal jurisdiction of the specific eight general courts is determined in accordance with section 23 of the Civil Dispute Code. Employment disputes are settled by civil courts applying the Civil Dispute Code where applicable.
The Main Sources Of Employment Law
In the Slovak Republic, Labour Law is an independent branch of law based upon the Labour Code. Employment matters are also governed and regulated by the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, the Civil Code, the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Collective Bargaining Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, but also by special laws, such as the Act on Employment Services, the Act on Execution of Work of Public Interest, the Act on the Civil Service or the Act on Residence of Aliens etc. together with international agreements and EU law.
National Law And Employees Working For Foreign Companies
Employment relations between employees performing work in the territory of the Slovak Republic and foreign employers are regulated separately in Section 5 of the Labour Code, which generally states that such relations are governed by the Labour Code, unless otherwise provided by private international law.
In the case of an employment relationship with a foreign aspect (i.e. in the event that the employer´s and the employee´s nationality is different), the law applied would be determined based on the rules of international private law. Under the Regulation of the European Parliament and Council EC no. 593/2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I), an individual employment contract is governed by the law chosen by the parties. Such a choice of jurisdiction may not, however, have the result of depriving an employee of the protection afforded to him by provisions that cannot be derogated from him/her by agreement under the law that would have been applicable in the absence of the choice. In the absence of any choice of law, a contract shall be governed:
- by the law of the country in which or, failing that, from which the employee habitually carries out his work in performance of the contract;
- by the law of the country where the place of business through which the employee was engaged is situated;
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Where it appears from the circumstances as a whole that the contract is more closely connected with a country other than that indicated above, the law of that other country shall apply.
National Law And Employees Of National Companies Working In Another Jurisdiction
In the event that an employment contract is governed by Slovak national law, this law also applies to individuals working for Slovak entities abroad. Where the place of work is located abroad, i) the work period abroad; ii) the currency of remuneration; iii) other benefits and bonuses made in cash or in kind in connection with working abroad; and iv) potential terms and conditions regulating the employee’s return back home shall additionally be specified by the employer in the employment contract.
The Labour Code stipulates that the employer may only process personal data about the employee related to the employee's qualifications and professional experience and data that may be relevant to the work that the employee is performing / going to perform or has performed.
Furthermore, Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) also applies directly to employment relationships as the employer is a controller for the purposes of this Regulation in the context of the protection of the employee's personal data.
The employer as the controller is responsible for compliance of personal data processing with the principles of personal data processing and the employer is thus obliged not only to comply with the principles of personal data protection, but must also be able to demonstrate this compliance in reality.
An example of personal data that the employer processes about the employee which must comply with the rules of their processing are, in particular, identification data, contact data, operational data, location data or even sensitive data of the employee, which are e.g. health data of an employee.
Legal Requirements As To The Form Of Agreement
The employment relationship is established between the employee and the employer in writing. However, failure to conclude a written contract does not make an employment relationship void. The foregoing implies that an employment relationship may be established orally. An employment contract concluded orally for a fixed period of time is legally considered as to be indefinite. If there is no written employment contract, an employee is to receive a written notification from the employer, within one month of starting employment, containing the following information: payment terms, working hours, holidays and the notice period, and, additionally, in the event that the place of work is located abroad the period of work to be performed abroad; the currency of remuneration; other benefits or bonuses made in cash or in kind in connection with the work abroad; and the potential terms and conditions regulating the employee’s return home back from abroad.
The trial period must be agreed separately in writing, otherwise it is not agreed. In addition, a trial period may be agreed in writing by the parties for a maximum period of three months; and in the case of a senior employee, who falls under the direct supervision of a statutory body or a member of a statutory body, for a maximum period of six months. With regards to already stated above, the trial period is invalid if it is not agreed in writing and in that case the trial period has not been agreed at all. Trial periods can only be extended if an employee has caused delay to the trial period due to reasons on his part (i.e. the employee´s sick leave). A trial period cannot be agreed on with an employee who repeatedly is employed under a fixed term contract.
Hours Of Work
Employees may be required to work up to 40 hours per week. Where a two-shift pattern rota is operated, the employee may be required to work up to 38.75 hours per week; employees working a three - shift pattern rota or in uninterrupted operation can work a maximum of 37.5 hour per week. In specific cases, a strict regulation of working hours applies (e.g. employing minors, handling hazardous material). The average weekly working hours – including overtime – may not exceed 48 hours.
Special Rules For Part-time Work
The special rules for a part-time work are as follows. At first, for an employee with reduced working time, as an overtime work is already considering a work that exceeds his/her weekly working time, and such an employee cannot be ordered to overtime work by his/her employer (this could be only agreed with him/her).A special feature is also adjustment in relation to the recreation of employees and the allowance for sports activities of the employee's child as follows. For an employee who has an agreed part-time work, the highest amount of recreation allowance per calendar year is reduced in proportion to the reduced working time and the amount of the child's sports allowance per calendar year will also be reduced by the same way.
Another special rule is the adjustment of working time in a way that if a pregnant woman and a woman or a man permanently caring for a child under the age of 15 request reduced working time, the employer is obliged to comply with their requests, unless serious operational reasons prevent this procedure.
One of the specifics is also the adjustment of the break for breast-feeding. If the employee (mother) works for reduced working time, but at least half of the specified weekly working time, this employee (mother) has only one half-hour break for breast-feeding for each child until the age of the end of the sixth month.
Otherwise, the basic rights and obligations in the employment contract for reduced working time are regulated in line with the Labour Code, as well as other employment contracts that are agreed for the determined weekly working time.
Reduced working time do not have to be spread over all working days. An employee in a part-time work is entitled to a salary corresponding to the agreed reduced working time.
An employee on a part-time work may not be favoured or reduced in comparison with a comparable employee.
The employer shall inform employees and employees´ representatives in a comprehensible manner about the possibilities for part-time works and also for works with determined weekly working time.
Unless defined in the collective agreement, pay terms and conditions shall be specified in the employment contract. The wage in any case cannot be lower than the statutory minimum wage rates that are set annually by the government of the Slovak Republic. Specification of the wage is an essential part of the employment contract; therefore, in the case that the wage is not agreed upon in the employment agreement nor is the collective agreement regulating the wage referred to in the employment agreement, then the employment agreement is void.
The employee is entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks holiday per year. Employees that reach the minimum of 33 years of age in the respective calendar year and employees who are constantly caring for the child, are entitled to a minimum of 5 weeks holiday per year. In particular, an employee is entitled to a minimum of 8 weeks holiday in a calendar year in the case of a pedagogical and professional staff, a university teacher, a researcher and an artist of a public or state university, or an employee who carries out research - pedagogical activity or scientific activity in line with section 103 par. 3 letter d) of the Labour Code.
In addition, employees are entitled to obligatory breaks at work, uninterrupted daily rest and bank holidays.
Employees must be at least 15 years old and must have completed compulsory school attendance. People older than 15 years who are still attending school and persons under 15 years may be able to undertake only light work (i.e. activities of a scope and character as to not affect their health, safety and future development and/or school attendance) in i) cultural and artistic performances; ii) sport activities; and iii) advertising activities upon the approval of state authorities. No maximum age is defined.
Employers are obliged to take measures to protect the life and health of their employees at work. Under the Labour Code, the employer is liable for damages incurred by employees as the result of an industrial accident or illness. Employees are entitled to maintenance and support (benefits) during an absence from work which is a result of their incapacity to work, old age, pregnancy or parenthood (in compliance with the social security legislation). Employers have to provide disabled employees with appropriate working conditions which provides for their participation in and development of their work-related skills and abilities. Employees who are absent from work because of an accident or illness are protected against dismissal during the absence provided their incapacity to work is not a result of their intentional action or drug or alcohol intoxication. Employees are also protected against dismissal during the period after filing an application for clinical treatment or after commencing a spa treatment until the completion of this treatment. The protective period ensures that the employee is not dismissed because of his disability or illness.
Location Of Work/Mobility
The employee’s place of work should be specified in the employment contract and cannot be unilaterally changed by the employer. Where the work needs to be performed at a number of places, this is required to be specified directly in the employment contract. The employee may be sent by the employer on a business trip outside the municipal district of his/her regular workplace only if, and when, the employee agrees; this general consent can already be obtained in the employment agreement.
Slovak labour legislation does not provide for compulsory pension plans. Pursuant to the Social Security Act, the pension insurance system in the Slovak Republic has 3 elements:
- State pension insurance; a pay- as-you-go system (statutory levies paid by both the employer and employee each month) with levies paid to the Social Insurance Agency used for pension benefits.
- Savings (statutory contributions of the employer and employee) managed by special companies, i.e. pension management companies. Saved in a private pension account, these contributions become the saver’s property.
Voluntary savings: contributions paid from net earnings in an amount defined by the employee themselves.
Parental Rights (Pregnancy/ Maternity/ Paternity/ Adoption)
Pregnant and nursing employees, employees on maternity or parental leave and single parent employees who look after a child under the age of three years are afforded special protection under the labour laws. Employees are entitled to up to 34 weeks of maternity leave, and parental leave until the child reaches 3 years of age. Where an employee’s child has a long-term illness, parental leave may be extended up to the time when the child is six years of age.
A special form of protection is the prohibition of dismissal of an employee who is in the protected period.
As a protected period, it is also, inter alia, when the employee is pregnant, on maternity leave, and when the employee is on parental leave. Nor immediate termination of employment contract can be applied in the case of an employee on maternity leave or an employee on parental leave, and this also applies for breaches of work discipline.
If an employee (pregnant woman, mother by the end of the ninth month after childbirth or breast-feeding woman) performs work which in the given state is not allowed to perform or according to medical opinion the work endangers pregnancy or maternity mission of the employee, the employer is obliged to reassign such employee to another suitable job. In addition, the employer may terminate the employment contract in trial period with a pregnant woman, mother by the end of the ninth month after childbirth and breast-feeding woman only in writing, in exceptional cases unrelated to her pregnancy or maternity, and must duly justify it in writing, otherwise it is invalid. The special conditions of women and men caring for children are regulated by the Labour Code in its section 160 et seq. and thus regulates which special regime applies to this category of employees. For example, the abovementioned maternity and parental leave is also in this part of the Labour Code.
Any employment contract failing to include the following agreed essential elements is void: the type and a brief description of the work; the place of work – city, area or any place defined in other manner; starting day and pay terms and conditions (unless defined in the collective agreement).
If there is no written employment contract, the employee is to receive a written notification from the employer, within one month of starting employment, which contains the following information: payment terms, working hours, holidays and the notice period.
In an employment contract, the parties may agree on any additional terms and conditions that are of the interest to the participants, in particular material benefits. The items of the employment contract, which, in the sense of the Labour Code, are no longer marked as the substantial items of the employment contract, are also the pay dates, working hours, the amount of holiday or the length of the notice period. Other optional / voluntary contractual conditions in employment contracts, which, however, are included in the contracts by default, are the provisions about a competition clause, granting consent to post an employee on a business trip, consent to reassignment to another suitable job in the future, consent to processing personal data, arranging overtime, monitoring the employee's e-mail communication, copyright arrangements etc.
Types Of Agreement
In addition to ordinary employment contracts, the employer and the individual may conclude a specific agreement to provide extra work or services required. Employers can conclude:
- an Agreement on Performance of Work - the scope of work shall not exceed 350 hours in a calendar year;
- an Agreement on student work - this can be concluded with a high school student or college student who has not reached 26 years of age; the scope of work shall not exceed 20 hours a week;
- an Agreement on work activities – the scope of work shall not exceed 10 hours a week.
In addition to the above, an employer and employee can conclude a labour contract for a fixed term. The law requires this contract to be executed in a written form, and limits its maximum duration to 2 years (this employment contract can be repeatedly concluded, or be prolonged by 2 years, twice). The Slovak Labour Code also allows for part-time labour contracts, i.e. contracts concerning less than 40 working hours per week which is already mentioned above.
Under the Labour Code, the employee undertakes not to disclose any information they receive or obtain during the course of or as a result of their employment which, in the interest of the employer, cannot be disclosed to third parties. Employers can define the scope and content of confidential information, for instance in the employment contract or in a separate non-disclosure agreement. Breach of this fundamental obligation by the employee may amount to gross misconduct resulting in instant dismissal. Employees can be held liable for damage as a result for the foregoing. Damages payable by the employee are limited by the Labour Code in an amount of up to four times an employee’s average pay and they cover damages for breach of contract as well as compensation for loss of profit. Pursuant to the Labour Code, the obligation to maintain confidentiality usually ends with the termination of employment. If the employer and employee have expressly concluded a non-disclosure agreement, the obligation to maintain confidentiality may continue even after employment is terminated. However, it should be noted that legal literature suggests that such agreements are not valid after an employment contract has ended, and, as such, the information can be used by the employee freely even in order to pursue their own business purposes. That does not apply in the case of a trade secret which is protected under the Commercial Code regardless of the duration of the employment.
Ownership of Inventions/Other Intellectual Property (IP) Rights
Under the Copyright Act, works created by an employee in the course of his employment are considered to be „the employee’s works“. Unless agreed otherwise, employers will claim copyright over the employee´s work in their own name and on their behalf. It is presumed that the employee gives the employer his consent when the employer exercises copyright over the work. When the employment ends, the rights and duties relating to the employee’s work remain unaffected, i.e. they continue to be exercised by the employer.
Before concluding the employment contract, the employer is obliged to inform a person (applicant) about the rights and obligations arising for him/her from the employment contract, about the working conditions and salary conditions under which this person (applicant) is going to perform the work. If a certain health state of an employee is required to perform a certain job, the employer may conclude an employment contract only with a person (applicant) who meets such conditions. The employer may conclude an employment contract with an adolescent employee only after a previous medical examination of an adolescent employee, and in addition, the employer is obliged to request the opinion of the adolescent employee's legal representative.
Furthermore, the employer may only request information from person (applicant) applying for the first job that is relevant to the work to be performed. The employer may require a person who has already been employed to submit a work report and a certificate of employment. However, attention should be draw to the fact that the employer should not request from the applicant information on pregnancy, family circumstances, integrity (the exception is only for cases where integrity is a special requirement) or information on political affiliation, professional or religious affiliation. Thus, at this stage, the employer must not infringe the principle of equal treatment as regards access to employment. The applicant is obliged to inform the employer about the facts that hinder the performance of work or that could cause harm to the employer, and about the length of working time for another employer in the case of an adolescent employee.
EU nationals are subject to the same employment laws as national employees. EU nationals do not need a work permit (granted by the state authorities) to work in the Slovak Republic. Employers may not require a work permit in certain situations, such as when an employee holds a permanent residence permit. In Slovakia, only citizens of non-EU or non-EEC countries holding valid work and residence permits – granted by the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, pursuant to a suitable application – can be employed. Employers are required to inform the Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family in writing about the commencement and termination of the employment of EU nationals and their relatives and concerning the commencement and termination of the employment of employees who are required to hold a work permit.
Hiring Specified Categories Of Individuals
If it has at least 20 employees, an employer is required to employ disabled persons so as to make up at least 3.2% of the total number of its employees. The statutory obligation to employ disabled persons can also be fulfilled through granting a contract which is suitable for an employed disabled person to a to self-employed disabled person. Employers can also purchase goods and services from protected workshops (which employ the disabled), self-employed disabled persons and from other employers whose goods and services are additionally produced and provided by their disabled employees. Employers who do not meet these statutory obligations are penalised and required to pay special charges. In addition, special obligations defined by law apply to employers employing pregnant women, children under 15 years of age and persons looking after young children, etc.
Outsourcing And/Or Sub-Contracting/Temporary Agency Work
Employers and/or temporary job agencies may agree with employees on their assignment to work temporarily for other legal entities or individuals. However, a temporary assignment often can result in a temporary change in the place of work and – quite often – the type of work. The original employment relationship remains unchanged, but the employees are required to receive instructions from a third party (customer employer); however, the remuneration and travel expenses are provided by the original employer or the temporary job agency.