On June 10th, 2020, the so-called big conceptual amendment to the Labor Code was passed. The amendment transposes European law (the directive concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services) into the Czech legal order, primarily aiming at facilitating the establishment of employment relationships. One of the major changes introduced by the amendment, which will affect virtually every employee, with effect from 1.1.2021, is the new leave entitlement concept. This concept of leave calculation in the future should be fairer on employees, especially on those whose working hours are unevenly scheduled into shifts.
So how will leave be calculated now? If an employee works for an employer for the whole year, i.e. 52 weeks, he/she will be entitled to leave amounting to fixed weekly working hours multiplied by the length of leave to which the employee is entitled by the employer. If the employee does not work full-time for the employer, but a shorter weekly working time is agreed, he/she will be entitled to hours of leave corresponding to shorter weekly working hours (i.e. having agreed a 30-hour working week, with entitlement to 5-week leave, the employee can take 30 x 5 = 150 hours of leave).
Since the calculation of leave should now be based on weeks worked, not months worked, an employee that starts working in the middle of the calendar month, after fulfilling the condition of working for 4 working weeks for the employer, will be entitled to 1/52 of leave for each week during which he/she has worked for the agreed weekly working time.
Similarly, if the employee’s length of fixed weekly working time is changed during the calendar year, he/she is entitled in that year to leave equal to the length of individual periods with different lengths of agreed weekly working time or with shorter weekly working time (meaning that having worked 26 weeks with 40-hour weekly working time and 26 weeks with 30-hour weekly working time, the employee is entitled to 40 (hours weekly) / 52 (weeks in a year) x 26 (weeks worked) x 5 (weeks of leave) = 99,95 hours for the first half of the year, and 30 (hours weekly) / 52 (weeks in a year) x 26 (weeks worked) x 5 (weeks of leave) = 74,95 hours for the second half of the year, i.e. in total 174,9 hours (rounded up to 175 complete hours) of leave for the given year.
Be careful of reductions of leave! Thus far, employees’ leave could be reduced by 1/12 for the first 100 shifts missed due to obstacles to work, which for the purposes of leave calculation were not counted as the performance of work. However, the amended wording of the Act now recognizes only one reason for reducing an employee’s leave – the unexcused missing of a shift.
The changes brought about by the amendment will also concern the transfer of leave. All leave and the taking of leave to which the employee will be entitled until the Labor Code Amendment comes into force (i.e. leave for the year 2020 and unused leave from previous years) is to be governed by the current legislation even in the year 2021. Thus, in essence the employee must take leave during the same calendar year in which he/she became entitled to it. Due to obstacles on the part of employee, or, as the case may be, due to urgent operational reasons, it is possible to transfer unused leave to the next calendar year, but this should only happen under exceptional circumstances. The unused leave for 2020 is to be taken as before, in days, if transferred to 2021. Only after all the remaining unused leave transferred to 2021 is taken may the employee take leave to which he/she becomes entitled in 2021. The latter is to be taken in hours. From 2021 to 2022, employees will continue to transfer unused hours of leave on the basis of written requests and taking into account their legitimate interests. Only the additional leave to which they are entitled in the given calendar year can be transferred at their request, namely the leave exceeding the legal period of 4 weeks, or 6 weeks in the case of pedagogical and academic staff.
By Martin Murad, Senior Associate, Adela Uhrinova, Junior Lawyer, and Zuzana Jurova, Paralegal, Rowan Legal