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Government approves changes to Labour Code

The government in its session in Nové Sady (in the Nitra region) on Wednesday, August 22, approved changes to the Labour Code that are designed to strengthen the protection of employees.

The government in its session in Nové Sady (in the Nitra region) on Wednesday, August 22, approved changes to the Labour Code that are designed to strengthen the protection of employees.

The changes concern the rights of people working via agreements, a definition of dependent work and the repeated signing of labour contracts, which are now due to be discussed in parliament in September and are expected to come into effect on January 1, 2013. According to the proposed changes, some 500,000 people working via agreements will gain a similar working status and benefits as ordinary employees. Measures regarding working hours, including overtime and standby, will also apply to those working via agreements. Like ordinary employees, these people will have the right to take time off from work in the event of health problems. In addition, measures concerning the minimum wage will apply to them.

Conversely, people working via agreements will not have the right to take holidays, as this will not be legally manageable if a single person is working according to several agreements. They will not be eligible to benefits such as meal contributions either. The proposed amendments to the Labour Code will also encompass severance payments.

"Employees who have worked for their current employer for at least two years in a row should be eligible for this payment," Labour Ministry State Secretary Branislav Ondruš told the TASR newswire. The maximum notice period should reach four months if an employee has worked for their current employer for more than 20 years.

Under the planned changes, it will not be possible for employers to proscribe or negotiate the amount of overtime work above a limit of 150 hours per year via a collective contract. Only medical personnel will be exempted from this rule. They will be able to work as many as 250 hours of overtime. Changes should also apply to the repeated signing of labour contracts. Under the current legislation, it is not possible to prolong contracts more than three times within a 24-month period. This should be reduced to no more than twice within 24 months. Compensation for unjustified dismissal should be adjusted.

The changes will also affect trade union organisations, which will not need to prove that they have at least a certain number of representatives working for a company.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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