The ruling Smer party's plans to reform the Labour Code are now clear, the Sme daily reports today (Friday, July 6). It writes that the Labour Ministry has already shown a blueprint of the changes to unions and employers, who next week, along with the Labour Ministry (in a grouping known as the tripartite), will discuss the proposal prior to a parliamentary vote.
Sme reports that Smer has stuck to its pre-election promise of making lay-offs more expensive and complicated for employers. However, the code will not be returned to the times of former labour minister Viera Tomanová, when two months' severance pay had to be paid in addition to workers also working out a compulsory lay-off period. Currently, only employees working for more than five years get such terms. Smer will also preserve work contracts, i.e. for short-time, one-time, or otherwise irregular jobs. Contrary to its original intentions, Smer will not scrap these altogether, but people will have to pay not just taxes, but also health insurance and social levies on income from them.
Among other planned changes to the Labour Code: temporary work contracts will be shorter (two contracts, for a maximum of two years in total); overtime hours will also be shorter (100 hours a year at most); extension of probationary periods will not be allowed; the definition of night work will be extended to cover work until 6:00, not until 5:00 as is currently the case; so-called flexi-accounts for working time will have to be approved by employees as well as employers; the position of unions will be strengthened; if a company does not determine the date of its works holiday by June 30, the employee himself will be able to decide; and the terms of a collective contract cannot be less advantageous for employees than the Labour Code. The other main issue still to be debated by the tripartite is the date on which the amended Labour Code will become effective. The Labour Ministry and unions would like it to be effective as of January 2013, while companies are asking for the changes to be delayed until 2014.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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