Amendment to the Labour Code
On 12 September 2022, the government draft amendment to Act No. 262/2006 Coll., the Labour Code, as amended (hereinafter “the Labour Code”) was published, which introduces fundamental changes. We have summarised these changes for you below.
As of 13 September 2022, the draft is in the comment procedure between government ministries and is therefore probably not in the version, in which it will be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies after the comment procedure has ended. However, the proposal in question was prepared after a thorough debate, so it is unlikely to encounter any fundamental opposition in the legislative process.
Moreover, it is a proposal for a long-awaited amendment to the Labour Code incorporating the so far non-transposed directives of the EU Council and the European Parliament and introducing new rules for the home office, the regulation of which has so far been largely unsatisfactory in our legal system. The home office has become a popular employee benefit since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the number of employers, who offer it, continues to increase.
Proposed changes to the home office
The draft amendment establishes the obligation to enter into a written telework agreement. The agreement must include at least the place of work, the method of communication and the method of assigning and controlling the work, the scope of the telework and the detailed conditions for the allocation of working time, the method of compensation, the period for which the telework agreement is concluded, the method of ensuring OSH in telework (home office), including OSH control.
The employee and the employer have the right to terminate the telework agreement for any reason or for no reason at all with 15 days’ notice.
The employer is also newly obliged to enable home office work for all employees who care for children under 15 years of age or care for persons dependent on the assistance of another person in II., III. Or level IV dependency, unless serious operational reasons or the nature of the work performed prevent it.
An employee in the above situation working remotely or on a part-time basis may ask the employer to reinstate the terms and conditions of employment at any time and the employer is obliged to comply unless serious operational reasons prevent this.
The draft amendment grants the employee the right to a written justification from the employer if the employer refuses the employee’s request to telework.
Home office agreements made before the amendment comes into force will have to be brought into line with the new regulation within three months of its entry into force.
The draft amendment also provides for a lump sum for reimbursement of costs associated with the home office (water, heat, gas and electricity), where the actual cost is difficult to ascertain at the current rate of CZK 2.80 per each started hour. The proposed amendment to the Labour Code also includes an amendment to article 6 paragraph 7 letter e) of Act No. 586/1992 Coll., on Income Taxes, as amended, due to which the given compensation will not be considered income; the lump-sum reimbursement of expenses is thus not subject to income tax.
Proposed changes to agreements on work outside an employment relationship
The Labour Code regulates two types of agreements on work performed outside an employment relationship: the agreement to complete a job (“DPP”) and the agreement to perform work (“DPČ”). A major proposed change is the employer’s obligation to schedule working time also in the case of DPP and DPČ; the employer will be obliged to inform employees of the weekly working time schedule at least one week before the commencement of the period, to which it applies.
The employer will probably also be obliged to provide the employee working on DPP or DPČ agreements with compensatory time off for working on public holidays and an additional payment of at least 10% for work on Saturdays or Sundays, night work and work in difficult working environments.
According to the draft amendment, employees on DPP or DPČ will have the right to leave and time off work in case of obstacles at work on the employer’s side. Employees on DPP or DPČ will also have the right to apply for employment, if they have worked for the employer for at least 6 months in a 12-month period; the employer will be obliged to give proper justification for any refusal.
In the case of DPČ, the compensation period for which the maximum working time is assessed is reduced from 52 weeks to 26 weeks, unless the collective agreement provides otherwise.
The employer will be obliged to justify in writing the termination of a DPP or DPČ contract, if the employee supposes that the termination was given due to exercising some of his/her rights under the Labour Code.
The amendment will probably introduce a significant improvement in the rights of employees on DPP or DPČ and substantially reduce the differences between DPP, DPČ and employment. It can be assumed that this provision will result in DPP or DPČ being used less.
The draft amendment expands the possibilities of electronic delivery.
It will be possible to enter into employment agreements, DPP and DPČ agreements, as well as their amendments or agreements on their termination, electronically. However, the employee will first need to provide his or her private email address to the employer specifically for this purpose in writing. The delivered employment contract does not need to bear a recognised electronic signature by either the employer or the employee. So even a scanned signature will suffice.
The employee may withdraw from the contract of employment, DPP or DPČ agreements made in this way within 7 days of delivery, unless the employee has already started work. Termination agreements cannot be withdrawn in this way.
In the case of unilateral documents related to the termination of an employment relationship, a DPP or DPT, a wage or salary assessment, or a record of a violation of the temporary disability insurance regime, the employer must have the employee’s written consent to delivery to the employee’s private electronic address. This consent can be withdrawn by the employee at any time, so the use will obviously be limited by this. The employer must sign the documents with his recognised electronic signature.
If the employee fails to acknowledge receipt of the document within 10 days, the document shall be deemed to have been delivered. However, the fiction does not apply if the employer receives an acknowledgement that the message could not be delivered. Interesting disputes will then arise, where the employer will have to prove that he did not receive confirmation that the message could not be delivered.
Other proposed changes
The draft amendment significantly expands the employer’s information obligation and shortens the deadline for compliance from one month to 7 days. The employer must notify the employee of any changes without delay. This change will affect all employers, who will need to rework the information they currently provide to employees. After the amendment comes into force, the extended information will also need to be provided to current employees, to whom the information obligation has already been fulfilled. It will also extend the information obligation to employees posted abroad for work, if the posting exceeds four consecutive calendar weeks.
The draft amendment to the Labour Code is planned to introduce fundamental changes to labour law. The change in the legal regulation of electronic service, which was unusable in its current form, is very welcome. Substantial improvements in the status of employees working on DPP and DPČ are likely to lead to DPP and DPČ agreements being used less. Teleworking legislation is very welcome – however, it is not entirely certain that the current version of the draft is suitable for practice in all respects.
The law will enter into force on the first day of the month following its entry into force, so it cannot be ruled out that the vacatio legis period will be relatively short.
If you are interested in this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 Draft amendment to the Labour Code as published on 12 September 2022
 Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU;
Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union
 Occupational safety and health
Author: Veronika Odrobinová, Petr Berdych