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Slovakia: Parliament passes amendment to the Labour Code due to COVID-19 pandemic

The amendment to the Labour Code regulates holiday entitlements, distribution of working hours and obstacles to work.

1. Work from home, working hours and holidays

Until now, the Labour Code has allowed work from home to be performed only after a mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. According to the amendment, the performing of work from the employee's home should be possible if the nature of the work allows it.

During the effectiveness of measures to prevent the emergence and spread of infectious diseases:

a) the employer has the right to order the performance of work from the employee's home, if the nature of the work agreed upon allows it,

b) the employee is entitled to carry out the work from home, provided that the type of work agreed upon allows it and there are no important operational reasons on the part of the employer which make it impossible to carry out work from home.

2. Working time

Whereas previously the employer was obliged to inform the employee of the distribution of working time at least one week in advance, according to the amendment the employer is obliged to inform the employee of the distribution of working time at least two days in advance, unless the employer and the employee agree on a shorter period, with the validity for at least one week.

3. Obstacles to work

If the employee is unable to carry out all or part of the work from home due to the closing or restriction of the employer's business as a result of the decision of the competent authority or closing or restriction of the employer's business due to the declaration of a state of emergency, this is an obstacle to work on the part of the employer.

The employee is entitled to compensation of 80% of his average wage, but at least the amount of his minimum wage. The entire amount will be paid to the employer by the state. The state will compensate all items included in the wage, including taxes and deduction duties. The maximum amount of the subsidy for an employee is EUR 1,100. The maximum amount of the subsidy for one applicant is EUR 800 thousand for the duration of the project.

If the employer is unable to assign work to the employee due to the declaration of a state of emergency and provides the employee with a wage compensation, the employer may order the employee to work off the period for which the wage compensation was provided.

What if the employee is in quarantine?

The employer is obliged to excuse the employee's absence from work during a serious personal obstacle to work, such as quarantine and isolation. The employee is not entitled to wage compensation for this time, unless a special regulation provides otherwise.

An employee who has a serious personal obstacle to work due to quarantine, isolation, personal and all-day care for a sick family member in accordance with special provisions and personal and all-day care for a natural person in accordance with special provisions shall be considered a temporarily incapacitated employee for the purposes of section 64 Labour Code.

Paid leave

The employer is obliged to notify the employee of the use of leave at least seven days in advance, and if it concerns the unused leave from the previous year, at least two days in advance. This period may be shorter with the employee's consent.

Occupational health and safety

During the state of emergency, employers should be relieved of certain obligations under the Act on Occupational Health and Safety. These include, for example, the obligation to inform the employer about the provisions on occupational health and safety which the company has when hiring a new employee, transferring him to another workplace or assigning him to another job.

A failure to comply with this obligation must not directly and essentially endanger life and health. The employer is obliged to fulfil his duty of notification pursuant to Section 7 (1) and (2) of the Act on Occupational Health and Safety as soon as possible, at the latest within one month from the day of the lifting of the state of emergency.

The changes will also affect the law on social security. The support period during unemployment, which would expire during the crisis situation, will be extended by one month.

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