Teleworking after the amendment to the labour code
The recently adopted amendment to Act No. 262/2006 Coll., the Labour Code (hereinafter “the Labour Code”) has brought a number of changes, one of which was a change in the rules for the use of the so-called home office. The long-established term “home office” is now replaced by “telework” as a result of the amendment.
With the entry into force of the amendment to the Labour Code on 1 October 2023, telework can only be performed based on a written agreement between the employee and the employer. An exception to this obligation will be cases where the employer orders the employee to perform telework on the basis of a decision of a public authority. A telework agreement must also be made for existing employees who were already working under the telework scheme before the adoption of the amendment by 1 November 2023, unless such an agreement has been made in writing.
Unlike the original proposals, the amendment to the Labour Code does not entitle any category of employees to telework; however, certain categories of employees (such as a pregnant employee or an employee caring for a child under the age of 9) are entitled to justification as to why they were not allowed to perform telework.
Agreement on working from home
Telework agreements do not have any statutory requirements, except that they must be made in writing. In the agreement with the employee, it is appropriate, however, to specify at least the basic conditions of teleworking, such as the employee’s teleworking regime, compensation for costs incurred while teleworking, protection of data and entrusted property, last but not least health and safety while teleworking, and possibly also the terms of termination of the agreement. Further rules may be laid down in the employer’s internal regulations.
For an employee working remotely, three different modes can be chosen: a mode where the employee schedules his/her working time exclusively by himself/herself, a mode where the employer schedules the employee’s working time, and a combination of the two.
Where the scheduling of working time is at the employee’s discretion, certain provisions of the Labour Code relating to the scheduling of working time, downtime and interruptions caused by adverse weather conditions shall not apply. However, the length of the shift of such an employee shall not exceed 12 hours.
An employee who schedules his/her own working hours in a teleworking arrangement is newly entitled to wages or salary for overtime work or compensatory time off, as well as reimbursement of wages and holiday pay.
Reimbursement of costs when teleworking
The amendment to the Labour Code also regulated the reimbursement of costs when performing remote work. The employer can now reimburse the employee for the costs incurred in performing telework in three different ways. Thus, the employer may reimburse the employee for (i) the costs actually incurred and proven, (ii) the costs calculated on the basis of a lump sum set by a decree of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and (iii) alternatively, the employer may agree with the employee not to reimburse the employee.
Employees working on the basis of agreements will only be entitled to reimbursement of costs incurred in performing telework if they have expressly agreed this right with their employer.
Termination of a telework agreement
A telework agreement may be terminated for any reason or for no reason at all with 15 days’ notice, unless the parties agree on a different length of notice. The parties may also agree in the agreement that the obligation under the agreement cannot be terminated by either party, which may be particularly useful if the employee is expected to telework for the duration of the employment relationship.
A telework agreement can be very minimalist or very complex, depending on the specific case, but employers should not underestimate setting up the agreement appropriately.
If you would like to know more details about teleworking or to set up a customized telework agreement, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experts.
Author: Martina Šumavská, Jessica Vaculíková