The revised Labour Code becomes effective. The Robert Fico government overhauled the Labour Code, the most significant legislation concerning employee-employer relations, as it claimed to return balance to relations between employees and employers. Employers and opposition MPs criticise the revision, effective as of the beginning of 2013, saying the changes are the opposite of what Slovakia’s economy, affected by the economic crisis and suffering from high unemployment, needs.

They argued that the new code will increase the costs of employment, slow job creation and reduce growth prospects and competitiveness. The revision reintroduced the entitlement to a layoff notice period as well as severance pay, shifted the status of people working under “na dohodu” (agreements based on work performance), whose extent does not exceed 350 hours per year, to work contracts closer to that of regular employees in terms of the minimum wage and payroll taxes.

EPH buys SPP. The Czech company Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) owned by Czech businessmen Petr Kellner and Daniel Křetínský, as well as the Slovak J&T financial group, bought a 49-percent share in Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP), Slovakia’s main gas utility, for €2.6 billion from its previous joint owners, Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas and France’s GDF Suez.

Possible change in builders of a new nuclear power plant. The Czech ČEZ Bohunice and the Slovak Nuclear and Decommissioning Company (JAVYS) signed a memorandum with the Russian company Rosatom enabling entry of the third partner to participate in the construction of a brand new nuclear power station in Jaslovské Bohunice. While ČEZ wants to focus on activities in the Czech Republic, it may be replaced by Rosatom in JESS, which it owns with JAVYS and which should build the nuclear power station. The new nuclear facility should have an installed capacity of up to 2,400 MW, and it should be put into operation after 2025. Costs are estimated at €4-€6 billion. The process of evaluating impacts on environment started in the fall of 2013 and will last 2.5 years.

Fewer savers in the second pension pillar. Nearly 90,000 people left the second, private pillar of the retirement pension savings scheme during the period from the beginning of September 2012 and the end of January 2013 while 14,720 people entered the pillar. Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government opened the second pillar after it reduced employee contributions to second-pillar savings from 9 to 4 percent of salaries. Thus the ratio by which contributions are allocated to the social security provider Sociálna Poisťovňa and to funds managed by private pension savings companies changed from the 9:9 percent of salaries to 14:4 percent in benefit of the social insurer as of September 1, 2012.

Study recognised abroad. The Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava obtained the ECTS Label confirming that its credit system is compatible with European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) enabling two-way student mobility within EU universities and the wider European area. All of the study programmes provided by the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, all exams and credits that students receive are in line with the European Credit System and thus recognised abroad.

Investments inflow. The Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) completed in 2012 a total of 32 projects with investors while these aggregate investments amounted to €1.2 billion.

THE YEAR IN BUSINESS

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