On 24 January 2020, the first reading of the government bill for an amendment to the Labor Code took place which is slated to come into force as of 1 July 2020 (except for certain provisions, which are supposed to come into effect only as at 1 January 2021).
Among the more significant changes brought about by the amendment are the rules governing employees’ vacation entitlement in a given calendar year. Employees who, during the continued existence of their employment relationship with the given employer, carried out 52 weeks of work in the given calendar year and the stipulated number of weekly working hours applicable to this time period, are entitled to vacation for the calendar year in the amount of the stipulated weekly working hours, multiplied by the number of weeks of vacation to which the employee is entitled in the given period. If the employee worked a shorter working week, they will be entitled to vacation corresponding to this shorter working week. In other words, the hours worked by the given employee will newly be adequately reflected in their vacation entitlement. In the wake of this change, ‘vacation for days worked’ as a separate type of vacation under Sec. 214 of the current wording of the Labor Code will be abolished.
The new vacation concept also amends the conditions under which the vacation entitlement may be curtailed. This measure may newly only be used in response to the employee’s absence without leave from their work shift, such that the number of unexcused hours during the given work shift is deducted from the total number of hours of vacation to which the employee is entitled in the calendar year. It was previously possible to sanction employees for absence without leave by taking one to three days of vacation away from them; this is now being reduced to the number of hours they were actually absent, i.e., the rule is being moderated in favor of the employee. In any case, the employee must always be granted at least two weeks of vacation.
The amendment also seeks to introduce a new legal institution (in Sec. 317a of the Labor Code): job sharing. Shared jobs are expected to help employees balance their work and family lives. They entail that (at least) two employees with the same kind of job description and shortened working hours come to an agreement with their employer under which they may themselves schedule their working hours, by working together in one shared job, reflecting their respective personal needs, so that each of them attains their average working hours within a balancing period of no more than four weeks, under the schedule on which they mutually agreed. At the same time, the sum total of the weekly working hours of either employee must not exceed the number of hours in a statutory work week (i.e., 40 hours per week).
Finally, the amendment also touches upon the service of notices in employment matters. Under a new rule, employers shall deliver correspondence to their employees primarily into their own hands, at the working place, and only then using other means. For postal delivery, the law newly requires that the employer send the correspondence to the address of which the employee last notified the employer in writing. It is therefore upon the employee to actively report correct and current information for the purpose of postal service of documents, and to do so in writing. Employees now bear a measure of responsibility for the successful delivery of correspondence.
Parliamentary press 689/0
30th November 2021
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