The government’s priority is to keep existing workplaces and create new ones

Employers call for a more flexible Labour Code.

The ruling coalition of OĽaNO, Sme Rodina, SaS and Za ĽudíThe ruling coalition of OĽaNO, Sme Rodina, SaS and Za Ľudí (Source: TASR)

This article was published in the Career & Employment Guide 2020, our special annual publication focused on the labour market, human resources and education.

The Igor Matovič government had to prepare the roadmap for its operation in the next four years amidst the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis that is expected to follow will bring not only challenges, but also opportunities, observers say – including for the labour market.

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In the area of work and employment, the government of four parties promises to pursue measures to keep employment and create workplaces while reducing payroll taxes as a means of increasing citizens’ incomes. Its programme statement prioritises the improvement of the business environment, the fight against corruption and red tape, a prudent fiscal policy, and tackling tax evasion.

“The programme statement contains several good ideas, but it is questionable how many of them they will really be able to implement,” Martin Kahanec of the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI) non-governmental think tank told The Slovak Spectator. “Paradoxically, the pandemic could be helpful in forcing Slovakia to focus on key measures.”

Related articleCoronavirus comes with an irreversible change to Slovakia's labour market Read more 

The business sector takes a positive view of the programme statement, pointing to the plans to reform payroll taxes and to enhance the flexibility of the Labour Code. Flexibility is pinpointed as key, particularly during the crisis and its aftermath. The Labour Ministry pledged, in its part of the programme statement, to consult on changes to the labour legislation with social partners.

Flexibility is key in a crisis

The National Union of Employers (RÚZ) points out that the coronavirus crisis has shown how unbending the labour legislation and the Labour Code are.

“The labour legislation must be thoroughly assessed. It must be modernised and set more fields where the adjustment of relations between employer and employee could be based on an individual or a collective agreement and not set by the law,” said Martin Hošták, secretary of the RÚZ.

The Federation of Employers’ Associations (AZZZ) welcomes any improvement in flexibility, adding that any easing that means employees achieve a better work-life balance will lead to companies retaining a happier and more loyal workforce.

“Society as such has been changing, and keeping talent requires some flexibility on the side of companies,” said AZZZ spokesperson Miriam Filová.

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