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President signs the new Labour Code

ON JULY 27, President Ivan Gašparovič signed the amended Labour Code, one of the most sweeping legislative initiatives prepared by the current government. If he had not signed the bill, the four-party coalition government led by Prime Minister Iveta Radičová could have faced difficulty in gathering enough votes in parliament to override a veto, the Sme daily reported.

ON JULY 27, President Ivan Gašparovič signed the amended Labour Code, one of the most sweeping legislative initiatives prepared by the current government. If he had not signed the bill, the four-party coalition government led by Prime Minister Iveta Radičová could have faced difficulty in gathering enough votes in parliament to override a veto, the Sme daily reported.

Four deputies from the Ordinary People faction, who came to parliament on the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party slate, had said they would not vote for the bill because of conflicts with the rest of the ruling coalition. Sme wrote that without these four votes, the government would be unlikely to override a presidential veto of the legislation, which will bring significant changes in almost all areas of labour relations beginning as soon as September 2011.

The president’s approval of the bill was somewhat unexpected but media reported that the president had said he had found no legal obstacles preventing him from signing it into law.

“According to the president, without an employer there would be no employees,” said Marek Trubač, Gašparovič’s spokesperson, as quoted by Sme, adding that the president thought the new law will help decrease the country’s unemployment rate.

The changes introduced by the revised Labour Code include: cancellation of a parallel layoff notice period and severance pay; longer periods for fixed-term employment contracts, which can now be agreed for up to three years, with extensions or renewals allowed three times in a three-year period; a longer layoff notification period for employees with long service in the same job; and greater protection for mothers and pregnant women.

While the ruling coalition praised Gašparovič’s decision, Slovakia's trade unions did not hide their disappointment and warned of worsening working conditions for employees.


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