15th March 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Czech labour law


UA employee receives a call-up order
Obtaining Czech residency permits for Ukrainian citizens  
UA employee wishes to go to Ukraine voluntarily
Financial aid for citizens of Ukraine
It is possible to terminate UA employees?
Obtaining employment in the Czech Republic
Discrimination at the workplace
Health insurance
Arrival of Ukrainian citizens to the Czech Republic  
Important contacts

1. UA employee receives a call-up order

  • If UA employee receives a call-up order, they are obliged to go to Ukraine and thus leave their job.
  • From the point of view of Czech law, this will be an excused obstacle to work on the part of the employee. The employee should prove the existence of the obstacle to the employer (e.g. by submitting a call-up order) or at least notify it.
  • The employer is obliged to excuse the absence of the employee at work (the employee is entitled to time off), for the entire period of the obstacle (validity of the call-up order).
  • The employee will not be entitled to any wage compensation. However, we recommend concluding an agreement on unpaid leave. The employer may provide wage compensation voluntarily.
  • Alternatively, an agreement can be concluded with the employee on termination of employment with a termination date of several months ahead, while if the situation in Ukraine has changed by then and UA employee has returned to the Czech Republic, the agreement may be terminated and the employment continued.
  • However, the UA's employment will last at most for the validity period of the employee card based on which they were allowed to perform work in the Czech Republic.
  • The employer itself cannot in any way encourage or coerce the employee to obey the call-up order. If UA employee decides to stay in the Czech Republic and disobey the call-up order, the employer must respect this decision.

2. UA employee want to Ukraine voluntarily

  • The Ukrainian employee voluntarily decides that they want to return to Ukraine in order to contact their family or help in the fighting.
  • We recommend that you agree with such an employee on:
    • the taking of holiday leave, or
    • the conclusion of an agreement on unpaid leave for a certain period during which the employee will not be entitled to compensation of wages, or
    • the conclusion of an agreement on the dissolution of employment similar to the previous situation.

3. It is possible to terminate UA employees?

Failure to perform work due to UA military service based on a call-up order cannot be considered ground for termination of employment under which it would be possible to terminate the employee's employment. However, it is possible to terminate the employment of such an employee only based on legal reasons for termination.
In our opinion, the so-called protection period under Section 53 (1) (b) of the Labour Code, during which an employee cannot be terminated, cannot be applied to an employee during the period of operational deployment on the basis of a UA call-up order. According to the wording and terminology of the Labour Code, the given provision applies only to citizens who are in operational deployment based on a Czech call-up order.

4. Discrimination at the workplace

  • Conflicts in the workplace may arise in connection with the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Be advised that it is still necessary to avoid any discrimination, e.g. on the basis of nationality or citizenship, and to respect the obligation of equal treatment of all employees.

5. Arrival of Ukrainian citizens to the Czech Republic

  • All border crossings with Poland and Slovakia are open without restrictions (non-stop).
  • Persons traveling from Ukraine to the Czech Republic are exempt from Czech anti-epidemic measures in terms of travel and COVID-19 (they do not need a mandatory test or vaccination).
  • Entry into the Czech Republic is permitted based on any official identity document. A biometric passport is not strictly required, although we highly recommend to have one.
  • At present, citizens of Ukraine can use a free train ride directly from the border as a transport to specific places. Some local authorities, including Prague, have also introduced an exemption from public transport fares.
  • It is possible to use private auxiliary transport, such as offered, for example, by Drive for Refugees.

6. Obtaining Czech residency permits for Ukrainian citizens

  • As part of visa-free travel, refugees who hold a biometric passport can stay in the Czech Republic for up to 90 days.
  • All arriving Ukrainians continue to be obliged to report their presence in the Czech Republic no later than the third day after their arrival at the Foreign Police.
  • A new system of obtaining a so-called special long-term visa should be set up by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for newly arrived Ukrainian refugees who want to participate in the regular (work) process in the Czech Republic.
  • To obtain a special visa, it is necessary to submit the following in person to the Ministry of the Interior:
    • completed form,
    • passport,
    • 45 x 35 mm photograph.
  • The accelerated process of obtaining a special long-term visa can also be used by Ukrainian citizens who already reside in the Czech Republic based on some type of residency permit that expires in the next 14 days and who cannot return to Ukraine due to the ongoing armed conflict.
  • The special long-term visa is issued for 12 months.
  • More information, including the necessary forms, can be found HERE.

7. Financial aid for citizens of Ukraine

  • Currently, the government is preparing a special law called "Lex Ukraine", under which all newcomers would be entitled to one-off humanitarian aid in the amount of CZK 5,000 per month to cover basic needs, until May 2022.
  • Subsequently, citizens of Ukraine holding a special long-stay visa should be allowed to enter the system of material need, which includes, for example, these benefits.:
    • subsistence allowance,
    • housing contribution,
    • extraordinary one-off immediate assistance.
  • The subsistence allowance and the housing contribution are regular monthly aids, the amount of which depends on the applicant's real income and possibilities.
  • You can find more information about all financial aid HERE.

8. Obtaining employment in the Czech Republic

  • Persons arriving from Ukraine do not have free access to the labour market in the Czech Republic.
  • To be hired, it is necessary to obtain a work permit from the labour office or an employee card, and to obtain these permits it is necessary to have already concluded an employment contract with a specific employer.
  • A citizen of Ukraine can only apply for jobs listed in the database of job vacancies, where the offer of vacant positions must be sent by the employer itself. An employer cannot employ a Ukrainian citizen directly.
  • It can be assumed that with regard to the current situation and the increase in the number of Ukrainian residents seeking employment in the Czech Republic, the process will be simplified, through the so-called Lex Ukraine.
  • More information on obtaining employment is provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, e.g. HERE.

9. Health insurance

  • Every foreign national residing in the Czech Republic must have health insurance.
  • A citizen of Ukraine who is duly employed in the territory of the Czech Republic or who has a special long-term visa is automatically included in the Czech public health insurance system.
  • Otherwise, you are obliged to take out your own health insurance.
  • You can find more information HERE.

10. Important contacts

Radek Matouš, Partner
Ondřej Beneš, Senior Associate
Martina Vodičková, Junior Associate

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic