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Doctor appointments during working hours

In the Czech Republic, doctor's visits qualify as an obstacle to work on the part of the employee who, to the absolutely necessary extent, is in this respect entitled to paid leave.

The law has only relatively general remarks to make on the issue of doctor's visits by employees during working hours. According to government decree No. 590/2006 Coll., employers must grant their employees leave with pay for as long as needed to undergo examination or treatment at the healthcare facility which (taking into account the health insurer with which the employee is registered) is closest to the employee's home or place of residence and which is qualified to administer the required healthcare, and provided further that the examination or treatment could not be scheduled outside the employee's working hours.

Employees may also ask for leave to visit another healthcare facility than the one which is closest. However, in such a case, they are only entitled to pay for the time which they would have spent at the closest facility. (As for the duration of the leave in such a case, this is again limited to the "absolutely necessary time period").

It follows that employees who e.g. have irregular work schedules or work shifts ought to make their doctor appointments for dates and times during which they are off duty, if at all possible. If this is not possible and the doctor's visit must take place during working hours, the employee is entitled to pay for the "absolutely necessary" time period spent at the closest healthcare facility. It will always depend on the individual case what amount of time was "absolutely necessary" – whereas it cannot be ruled out that the employee may legitimately be absent from work for the whole day.

Given all the above, we highly recommend that the internal policies of the employer provide rules for doctor's visits as well as for other obstacles to work on the part of the employee, and require proof of the reasons for any absence from work.

Source: Czech Labor Code