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Employers unhappy with proposed Labour Code changes

A PROPOSED amendment to the Labour Code, scheduled to be adopted this spring, continues to raise controversy, with the government saying it will provide more protection for employees, and employers claiming that it will stifle the creation of new jobs.

The draft changes, which have already been prepared, emerged from negotiations between the government and trade union leaders. Parliament is due to debate the changes in March, while the amendment should take effect in July, the Pravda daily reported on January 26.

"We'll find a balance that on the one hand provides better health and safety measures and protects employees' rights, and on the other ensures that we don't have a Labour Code that sends us back to the distant past," Fico said.

The PM added that among other measures, the amendment will limit the maximum work week including overtime to 48 hours, and will raise the minimum wage to 60 percent of the national average wage.

Employers groups are opposed to the proposals, claiming they will make it more difficult for them to take on new employees.

"Many of the changes proposed by the Labour Ministry and the trade unions don't have any professional basis but were simply plucked out of political thin air," said Juraj Borgula from the National Employers Union.

Employers say they weren't consulted when the proposals were being drawn up, and threaten to take their complaints to the International Labour Organization, a tactic they used successfully in the 1990s.

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