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Top 8 Selected Legislative Changes For 2023

Top 8 Selected Legislative Changes For 2023

Czech Republic
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We summarize an overview of selected legislative changes applicable for 2023. However, there are other major changes to be expected this year, such as a major amendment to the Labour Code, the adoption of the Whistleblower Protection Act or an amendment to the Employment Act. We will, of course, inform you about these changes as soon as their final form is known.

1) Cancellation of periodic examinations

The amendment to the Decree on Occupational Health Services abolishes the obligation to perform periodic examinations for employees in non-hazardous professions (1st and 2nd categories) and persons working under an agreement on the performance of work and an agreement on work activity as of 1 January 2023.

However, employees and employers still have the option to request these examinations. Similarly, workplace surveillance is only mandatory for hazardous occupations, otherwise only at the request of the employer or occupational health provider. It will also not be compulsory to carry out an extraordinary examination in the event of an employee's absence for more than 6 months due to maternity or parental leave.

The mandatory entry medical examination for all employees has not been affected.

Effective date: 1 January 2023

Impacts and risks for employers:

The amendment will reduce the administrative burden and also bring financial savings for employers.

2) Support for part-time work

From 1 February 2023, employers can take advantage of a discount on social insurance premiums if they employ workers who are (a) aged over 55 years or, (b) caring for a child under 10 years, (c) in education, (d) retrained in the previous 12 months, (e) disabled, or (f) under 21 years.

The discount will only apply to the above employees if they work part-time between 8 and 30 hours per week (except for employees under 21 years of age). The amount of the discount is 5% of the employee's total assessment base and applies to the employer's share of the premium.

Effective date: 1 February 2023

Impacts and risks for employers:

The discount must be notified in advance and claimed on the prescribed form and can only be claimed up to the due date of the premium for the calendar month for which the discount is due.

3) Paternity leave

The Labour Code has added a new type of so-called important personal obstacle to work on the part of the employee - the so-called paternity leave. The leave is entitled to a period of up to 2 weeks.

The employer is obliged to grant leave to the employee - the father of the child he is caring for. The employee is entitled to leave during the period when the employee is drawing the paternity benefit under the Sickness Insurance Act, i.e. for up to 2 weeks, starting in principle within 6 weeks of the birth of the child. Leave is also newly granted in the event of stillbirth or death within the first six weeks of birth.

Effective date: 1 December 2022

Impacts and risks for employers:

The new regulation clarifies the regime for taking paternity leave, which has been treated in practice as parental leave. The father is entitled to the same protection in relation to paternity leave (return from paternity leave or protection against dismissal) as in the case of maternity leave.

4) Quarantine

Quarantine has now been added to the grounds for which the prohibition on dismissal under the Labour Code applies and the order for quarantine will now also lead to the interruption of leave as in the case of sick leave. In addition, quarantine is also being fully computerised, i.e. the notification of the quarantine order, its duration and termination will be made exclusively electronically, similar to sick leave.

Effective date: 1 December 2022

Impacts and risks for employers:

Quarantine is being "equated" with incapacity for work.

5) Minimum wage increase

As of 1 January 2023, the minimum wage will increase to CZK 103.80 per hour; in the case of full-time work, an employee should not earn less than CZK 17 300 per month. This is an increase of CZK 7.40 per hour, or CZK 1 100 per month.

At the same time, the lowest level of the guaranteed wage is being increased accordingly, this time only for job groups 1 and 8. The guaranteed wage levels range from the lowest earnings to twice the lowest earnings and are paid in eight steps according to the complexity, responsibility and exertion of the work.

Effective date: 1 January 2023

Impacts and risks for employers:

Employers will have to review the wages they pay their employees and make any increases to ensure that the employees' wages are at least equal to the minimum or guaranteed wage.Other obligations derived from the minimum wage, such as the hardship allowance or minimum health insurance contributions, also need to be revised.

6) Lowering the temperature in the workplace

In the context of the energy crisis, the government has adopted a regulation containing measures aimed at reducing energy consumption in the Czech Republic by up to a fifth. One of these measures is to reduce the minimum temperature in some workplaces, but also in offices, schools, residential and administrative buildings, health and social facilities, hotels, restaurants, dormitories and hostels. These are mainly administrative positions (office work) and 'light work', which is mostly done sitting down.

For office work, the minimum temperature is now 18°C (previously 20°C) and for "light work" it can be as low as 16°C (previously 18°C). The most dramatic drop in temperature is possible in showers, from 25 °C to 19 °C, and in toilets, from 18 °C to 15 °C.

Effective date: 11 October 2022

Impacts and risks on employers:

Heating to the lowest possible temperature is not an obligation for employers, it is just a way to save on energy costs.

7) Major increase in compensation for work-related injuries

The Government has decided to substantially increase the point value of the pain and impairment score from CZK 250 to CZK 393 for injuries for 2023. The new point value will be variable and determined as 1% of the average wage in the national economy as determined for the 1st-3rd quarter of the calendar year preceding the year in which the obligation to assess pain and impairment arose.

Transitional provisions of the amendment allow for the new regulation to be applied also to work injuries that occurred before 1 January 2023, if a decision on the determination of compensation for pain or compensation for impairment of social work has not yet been made.

Effective date: 1 January 2023
Impacts and risks for employers:
The change is particularly important for employees, where the illogical lower compensation for work-related injuries compared to other injuries is removed.

For employers, the impact will be rather negative if the premiums are increased or if the insurance company reclaims.

8) Extension of temporary protection for UA refugees

Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, many refugees have been granted so-called temporary protection, which entitles the holder to stay in the Czech Republic and to free access to the Czech labour market. Temporary protection is evidenced by a visa sticker, which should expire on 31 March 2023. In view of the current developments in Ukraine, the Government has proposed to extend the validity of the visa sticker until 31 March 2024.

Holders of the "old" visa sticker will have to apply for its extension by registering electronically at a Ministry of the Interior office by the 31 March 2023 at the latest and then attending a personal visit by 30 September 2023 at the latest, where their temporary protection will be extended.

Effective date: 24 January 2023

Impacts and risks for employers:

Employers who employ Ukrainian refugees under temporary protection should, in their own interest, check rigorously that they have arranged the extension of the temporary protection in time and update the respective notifications with the Labour Authority.

Without the extension of the temporary protection, the employer would risk being fined up to CZK 10,000,000 for allowing illegal work.

By Radek Matous, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

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