Czech Republic: Summary of Recent Employment Law Developments
Due to past government elections and discussions regarding potential legislation on Covid-19-related measures, there have been several employment law developments, chief among them:
1. The Obligation to Wear Masks at the Workplace
The obligation to cover one’s mouth and nose with a mask, specifically a respirator or other protective device without an exhalation valve with a filtration efficiency of at least 94% (class FFP2 / KN 95), will again apply to the workplace. Employers must provide their employees with such masks.
An employee may remove the mask only if he/she is alone in the room (e.g., in a separate office), or if the distance from another employee is at least 1.5 meters. Exceptions apply for, e.g., health workers, if it is necessary to perform first aid (e.g., resuscitation), public transport drivers, judges, advocates, prosecutors, experts and interpreters during trials, performers, hosts, news readers, persons working in an environment with a 3rd and 4th degree heat burden (glassmakers, metallurgists, etc.), and people who cannot wear masks for medical reasons, as proven with a medical certificate.
2. Whistleblowing Act will be prepared by the New Government
Comprehensive legal regulation in the Czech Republic has been lacking for a long time, also due to a rather negative attitude towards whistleblowers in the society. In Spring 2021, the government approved a proposal act of the Ministry of Justice on the protection of whistleblowers, which was a mandatory transposition of the EU Whistleblowing Protection Directive [Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law]. However, the Czech Parliament failed to discuss the proposal before the autumn elections and therefore, the new government will have to resubmit the proposal to the newly elected Chamber of Deputies. Thus, it is certain that the Czech Republic will not meet the transposition deadline of 17 December 2021.
The original proposal act of the Ministry of Justice gold-plated the EU Whistleblowing Protection Directive in some respects, e.g., it defined the “notification” so broadly that it included a wide range of submissions, including criminal and administrative offenses; furthermore, certain subjects defined by law (e.g., employers with more than 25 employees) were obliged to set up an internal whistleblowing notification system.