President Ivan Gašparovič on Monday, November 19, signed the amended Labour Code into effect that ushers in a new set of rules for employees, employers, unionists and people working via independent contracts, as of January 1, 2013. According to the Labour Ministry, the new Labour Code strengthens the rights of employees, although the opposition claims that the benefits apply only to unionists.
According to the new Labour Code, some 500,000 people working via part-time agreements will gain work status and benefits similar to those of ordinary employees. Measures regarding work hours, including overtime and standby, will also apply to those working via contracts. Like ordinary employees, contract employees will also have the right to take time off from work in the event of health problems, and they will be covered by measures concerning the minimum wage. Contract employees will not, however, have the right to take holidays, as this will not be legally manageable if a single person is working according under multiple contracts. Nor will they be eligible for benefits such as meal contributions (coupon vouchers).
The changes to the Labour Code will also encompass severance payments, the TASR newswire wrote, for which employees who have worked for their current employer for at least two years in a row will now be eligible. The maximum notice period for dismissal will extend to four months if an employee has worked for his or her current employer for more than 20 years. Also, it will not be possible for employers to negotiate overtime work above a limit of 150 hours per year via a Collective Agreement. Only medical personnel will be exempted from this rule. They will be able to work as many as 250 hours of overtime. Changes will also apply to the repeated signing of labour contracts. Compensation for unjustified dismissal will be adjusted. The changes will also affect trade union organisations, which will no longer have to prove that they have at least a certain number representatives working for a company in order for their representation to be valid.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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