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Developing the best personnel structure – legally

A motivated and stable team of employees is a key factor in the success of a business. Slovak employment law offers several tools that can be used to develop such a desirable team.

JUDr. Pavol Rak, PhD., Managing Partner, Noerr s.r.o.(Source: Courtesy of Noerr s.r.o.)

A motivated and stable team of employees is a key factor in the success of a business. Slovak employment law offers several tools that can be used to develop such a desirable team.

Creating and then stabilising a good personnel structure starts with the selection of the right job applicants. Correct wording of the advertisement for a vacant position is often a decisive factor in determining the outcome of the hiring process. There are several legal rules to be followed when drafting a job advertisement – the most notable one is a prohibition against discriminatory requirements.

The next step in the process is usually a job interview with short-listed candidates. The legal rules for the interview include comprehensive information obligations on both parties. To protect the applicant, certain questions must not be asked by the employer, for instance regarding pregnancy, family background, religion or trade union membership.

After signing an employment contract, the employee is obliged only to perform the work agreed upon in the contract. For that reason the definition of the position, or its job description, is crucial as the employer cannot request an employee to perform work outside of this agreed framework. The art of preparing a job description is to do so in general terms but it must not be too broad. Provisions like “and any work according to the instruction of the employer” would clearly be invalid.

To have the desired personnel structure, employment contracts for a definite term and part-time employment should be considered as well. Although not widely used in Slovakia, these forms of employment offer flexibility and often better effectiveness compared to full-time permanent employment contracts. In some cases, they also allow employees to establish a better work-life balance.

Once the employer’s team is structured according to its needs, questions of maintaining a stable workforce arise. Slovak employment law offers several tools in this respect. Employees in key positions can be bound by a non-competition clause that prevents them from working for a competing firm after they leave their current employer. To bind a former employee to such a clause the employer must pay an amount equal to at least 50 percent of the former employee’s salary for the duration of the non-competition obligation.

A structured salary system with a variable portion to motivate employees and an interesting scheme of various employee benefits are also very powerful tools to maintain a stable workforce.

Agreements with employees to improve in their qualifications may be used as well to further develop and stabilise personnel. The employer must bear the costs of such education and must grant the employee necessary time off work. The employee is then bound to remain with the employer for an agreed time of up to five years so that the employer benefits from the employee’s improved education and qualifications.

A similar agreement regarding the costs of education can be concluded with students at practical schools and can be beneficial to both parties. The student receives education without having to pay its costs and the employer gets an employee who has just the right balance of theoretical and practical education for the employer’s needs. In a case like this, the employee is obliged to conclude an employment contract with the employer after completing school and remain employed for an agreed time of up to three years.

In a dynamic business environment redundancies inevitably occur from time to time. Slovak employment law offers several ways in which termination of employment can be handled. Mutual agreement is the preferred way of termination as it provides the highest level of certainty for both parties and allows each to make specific arrangements. If no mutual agreement is reached, an employer may undertake unilateral termination in accordance with the grounds specified in the Labour Code. No modification of the statutory grounds for unilateral termination is allowed, not even those agreed upon in an employment contract or in a collective bargaining agreement. In certain cases a warning letter is required prior to a termination notice.

Slovakia’s employment law is very rigid and may be altered only in cases explicitly stipulated in the law. Nevertheless, the current tools provided by the Slovak employment law – supplemented by appropriate internal HR policy – will lead to the most correct and reliable personnel structure, something all managers dream of.

JUDr. Pavol Rak, PhD. is a managing partner with Noerr s.r.o.

This article is of an informative nature only. Should you need any further information on the issues addressed in this article, please contact our Law Office Noerr s.r.o., Tel: +421 2 59 10 10 10, Email: recepciaba@noerr.com,www.noerr.com

Noerr is a Top 10 leading legal office in Germany and Europe – with more than 480 professionals, five offices in Germany, seven in Central and Eastern Europe, an office in London, a representative office in New York and a nearly-opened office in Alicante.
Our expertise has been consistently ranked among the best practices in the leading publications on the legal market, such as Chambers, Legal500 and ILFR. Additionally, Noerr has been honoured as Client Service Law Firm of the Year for Germany 2012 - Chambers Europe Awards.

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