Minimum Working Conditions
Under Czech law, employees are eligible for these minimum entitlements:
- Minimum salary set by law;
- Maximum shift length;
- Maximum length of overtime work;
- Financial premiums for overtime, work conducted on weekends/public holidays;
- Annual paid leave (minimum of 4 weeks);
- Sickness payment (paid partly by the employer and partly by the state);
- Maternity/parental leave;
- Leave in certain specific situations (taking care of a sick child, to get married, etc.);
- Severance payment when terminating employment on the grounds of restructuring or due to occupational injury/disease;
- Employees are entitled to participate in trade unions and other representative bodies.
Certain groups of employees enjoy more favourable working conditions. For instance, pregnant employees cannot work overtime; minor employees cannot work at night and cannot work overtime, etc.
The minimum salary is the minimum permissible amount of remuneration for work performed within a basic employment relationship.
Employee’s salary may not be lower than the minimum set by law (for this purpose, the salary shall not include any premium payment for overtime, work on public holidays, night work, work in an arduous working environment and for work on Saturdays and/or on Sundays).
The base rate of minimum salary and further rates of minimum salary differentiated with regard to influences limiting a certain employee’s employability, and the conditions for minimum salary payment, shall be set out in a Government Decree, as a rule taking legal force as of the beginning of the calendar year, taking into account the development of salaries and consumer prices.
Where a salary does not attain the amount of the minimum salary, the employer shall pay the employee additional payment which is equal to a difference between the relevant minimum monthly salary and the employee’s salary for the calendar month.
Maximum Working Week
The maximum standard weekly working hours shall be 40 hours per week. The length of standard weekly working hours can be modified for these groups of employees:
- for employees who work underground on extraction of coal, ores or non-metallic raw materials, or on construction of mineworks or who are engaged in geological prospecting on mining sites, the maximum is 37.5 hours per week;
- for employees who are on a multi-shift or continuous pattern of work the maximum is 37.5 hours per week;
- for employees who are on a two-shift pattern of work the maximum is 38.75 hours per week.
The length of a shift may not exceed 12 hours.
After an employee’s continuous work for six hours at the most, he/she must be given by the employer a work break for meal and rest lasting at least 30 minutes; an adolescent employee must be given such break after a maximum of four and half hours of continuous work.
The employer shall distribute working hours in such a way so that employee has a minimum rest period of 12 hours between the end of one shift and the start of a subsequent shift within 24 consecutive hours.
The employee may also be required to work overtime up to 150 hours/year. Where there is an express agreement with the employee (usually included in the employment contract), the employer may require a greater number of overtime hours – up to approximately 416 hours/year.
For overtime work, the employees are entitled to their salary and extra pay in the amount of at least 25% of their average earnings or compensatory time-off within the scope of overtime instead (if agreed with the employee).
However, it is possible (and common in practice) to agree in employment contracts that the salary is already “inclusive” of potential overtime of 150 hours/year in the case of standard employees and the total permissible overtime (approximately 416 hours/year) in the case of managerial employees. If such arrangement is agreed with the employee, the employee is not entitled to any compensation (extra pay or compensatory time-off) for the agreed amount of overtime hours included in the salary.
Health and Safety in the Workplace
General rules on health and safety in the workplace are set by the Labour Code. More rules and conditions are contained in other laws, decrees or regulations as well as in the employer’s internal regulations.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
In general, the employer is obliged to ensure a safe workplace for its employees. According to the Labour Code, such requirement constitutes, in particular, the following obligations:
- not to allow an employee to perform prohibited work and work at a level of difficulty that would not correspond to the employee’s abilities and health;
- to communicate to employees which provider of occupational health services will provide them with occupational health services and which occupational health check-ups and examinations related to the performance of their work they are obliged to undergo and enable access to such services, check-ups and examinations;
- to appoint and inform the employees about the appointment of a professionally qualified natural person for the prevention of risks;
- to organise training;
- to secure the provision of first aid to employees and inform the employees about the person responsible for the provision of first aid;
- to determine the causes and circumstances of the occurrence of an occupational accident and to adopt measures to prevent the recurrence of such accidents at work;
- to organise an audit on Occupational Health and Safety and Fire protection every year;
- to install safety signs within the premises;
- to provide Protective Equipment if required for the particular job position;
- to equip the workplace with fire equipment according to the level of danger in the premises;
- not to use such methods of remuneration for work that involve exposure of employees to an increased danger of injury and the use of which would result in endangering the health and safety of employees in the event they would improve their working results;
- to adapt premises at the workplace for rest by pregnant and breastfeeding employees and employees who are the mothers of children up to nine months of age, etc.
There are also many specific requirements related to different types of work (e.g. physically demanding work, work with chemicals, etc.).
The employer is obliged to ensure a safe work environment and in this respect the employees should be provided with the following:
- Occupational Health and Safety training – at the commencement/at the end of employment (or if there is any significant change of the employment or workplace conditions), and regularly during the employment.
- Fire Protection training – would usually be carried out together with the above-mentioned Occupational Health and Safety training.
- Driver’s training – should the employees drive a car for the purposes of their employment driver’s training should be provided. The training must be repeated periodically.
Regarding the investigations of health violations (injuries) the employer must investigate every injury that occurred in the workplace (regardless of whether the injury occurred in connection with work performance or not) and keep a book recording all injuries. The employer should also seek the cause of the injury and adopt corresponding preventive measures. Some of the injuries also must be notified to certain authorities (Labour Inspectorate, Police, etc.). There are no other regulations regarding investigations of other breaches (e.g. safety) so it is recommended good practice for a company to adopt internal regulations.
The fulfilment of the obligations of the employer are observed by the State Labour Inspectorate, who may impose fines and other penalties. If the employee feels like his/her rights (e.g., in regard to health and safety in the workplace) are not being followed he/she may inform the State Labour Inspectorate or can go directly to the court and file an action against the employer.
Protection from Retaliation
There is no special law on protection from retaliation, but generally to comply with legal conditions on health and safety in the work environment and process work injuries as well as to provide compensation for workplace injuries/illnesses, i.e.:
- Payment in regard to temporary incapacity for work;
- Compensation in the amount of the difference between the provided compensation and actual salary to which the employee would be entitled to if there had been no workplace injury or illness;
- The employee is also entitled to compensation for pain, reimbursement of expenses related to the injury/illness, compensation for decreased social status (e.g. the employee may not enjoy his/her life as he/she did before the injury/illness), compensation for damage to clothes, personal objects, etc.
The above-mentioned methods of compensation would be reimbursed as standard by the Kooperativa Insurance Company (Vienna Insurance Group) (through the employer’s obligatory liability insurance). None of the methods of compensation have to be provided if the employer proves that the injury/illness was caused by the employee’s fault e.g., arising from a breach of Health and Safety rules, or if the employee was under the influence of alcohol/another addictive substance.