31st January 2017

Czech Legislation Update January 2017

The Act on the Conflict of Interest took effect on 25 January. Companies owned by a member of the government won’t be eligible to participate in public tenders, or profit from investment incentives, for example. The Czech Finance Minister said he would transfer his businesses to trust fund and complain to the EU.

The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate will vote on Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement CETA

The Chamber of Deputies (1st reading) and the Senate (Committee review) have been debating the Paris Agreement. 

From the sessions of the Senate

At its session on 18 January, the Senate passed draft amendment to the Act on Insolvency and elected candidates for members of the newly established Office for supervision of financial management of political parties and movements. Earlier, the Czech President Zeman appointed Head of the Office, a nominee of the Chamber of Deputies Vojtěch Weiss. More details here.

At its session on 14 December, the Senate voted on draft amendment to the Act on Corporations (but the session did not reach quorum) that introduces the right for employees in corporations with 500+ employees (employees with employment contract) to elect or replace members of the company board. Newly, in companies with 500+ employees the number of supervisory board members must be divisible by three; two thirds of supervisory board members will be elected by general meeting and one third (or more) will be elected by employees of the company (details in Czech by Dvořák Hager Partners). The Ministry of Justice has been working on another amendment to the Act on Corporations that proposes further changes to the election of board members.

From the sessions of the Chamber of Deputies

The Government proposed a bill (no. 873) summarizing changes to tax laws after 1 January 2017. The Chamber passed the bill on 11 and 13 January. Read more.

Draft amendment to the Act on the Residence of Foreigners in the Czech Republic had its second reading on 11 January. The bill no. 990 proposes, among others, the introduction of the so-called "foreign investor card", a special type of a long-term residence permit and improved rules for employees-foreigners posted within a corporation. Read more in an article by Radio Praha and in a summary (in English) by Petyovsky & Partners here.

The draft Act on compensation of damage incurred by breach of competition rules was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies (bill no. 991).

The draft amendment to the Act on Cybersecurity (bill no. 984) had its first reading on 11 January and will be reviewed by the Chamber Committees More details (in Czech).

The draft amendment to the Act on Employment (bill no. 964) is based on EU legislation and aims at better identification of real reasons behind posting of employees. It also aims at anchoring the responsibility on the part of the receiver of the transnationally provided service. It had its second reading on 17 January.

The Chamber of Deputies could debate draft amendment to the Act on the support of R&D and Innovations (bill no. 960).  The aim of the proposal is to define “eligible costs” and ”project of R&D and innovations” more clearly to better meet the purpose of the act. The Government expressed disapproval with the bill.  The Government expressed neutral position on the bill no. 983, another effort to define eligible costs.

The draft amendment to the Construction Act (bill no. 927) had its first reading in the Chamber of Deputies on 26 October. The bill will be reviewed by the Chamber Committees. Recently published position of the Confederation of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic is available here.

A group of MPs is proposing exemptions from the Act on Registry of Contracts (bill no. 699). The Committee for Constitution suggests repeating of the second reading. The material proposes exemption for state-owned Budějovický Budvar n.p. from the obligation to disclose (both sales and purchase) contracts. 

The Chamber of Deputies could debate the draft Act on State Prosecution (bill no.789790). 

Representatives of the Liberecky region submitted draft amendment to the Act on Online Sales Registration (EET, bill no. 846) to the Chamber of Deputies and the Government. The bill suggests that EET could apply only to VAT payers. Another proposal bill no.792 by a group of MPs suggests excluding small entrepreneurs, non-VAT payers. Another proposal, bill no. 867, suggests exemptions for farmers selling their home-grown products at farmers markets. Another bill proposing EET act amendment  

The Chamber submitted to the Government draft amendment to the Labor Code (bill no. 1008) written by a group of MPs proposing the introduction of the institute of nursing leave. The material reacts to ageing of the population and the need to adapt the current law to the challenges employers and employees are facing. The Governemt discussed a related draft amendment to the Sickness Insurance Act (with no conclusion) on 30 January.

At its session on 24 August, the Government approved draft amendment to the Labor Code submitted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs; proposing changes related to senior managerial employees (More details in a summary by Weinhold Legal here (in English),  regulation of homeworking, teleworking, contracts for work performed outside an employment relationship, or prevention from stress at workplace, among others. The bill no. 903 will be reviewed by the Chamber Committees.

On 24 August, the Government passed draft amendment to the Act on Employment. The purpose of the amendment is to regulate temporary employment and job agencies.The bill no. 911 had its first reading in the Chamber of Deputies on 2 December and will be reviewed by the Chamber Committees.

At its session on 18 May, the Government approved draft amendment to the Act on Sickness Insurance (bill no. 821) allowing for paid paternity leave, among others. The bill had its third reading on 11 January and repeated second reading on 17 January. Change proposals were submitted.

The Senate’s draft amendment to the Labor Code suggests eliminating the institute of "karenční doba" related to coverage of the sickness insurance in the first three days of sickness of employees. The bill no. 744 could have its first reading at the session of the Chamber after 10 January. There has been an ongoing debate within the tripartite (the government, employers and trade unions) on this issue.

Read (negative) position of the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic to proposed changes in labor law.

On 18 December 2015, draft amendment to the Act on Elections to the Parliament of the Czech Republic was submitted to MPs and the Government. The bill no. 676 proposes rules for correspondence vote. The Government expressed neutral view.

On 18 October, the Government submitted to the Chamber of Deputies draft Act on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks (bill no. 936). Construction works costs account for the highest (up to 80%) share of the total costs, the material says. The aim of the bill is to introduce rules, a minimum standard, from the very first phase of the process to minimize inefficiencies of electronic communications networks deployment. These rules could accelerate the process of e-government implementation. The proposal had its first reading on 29 November and will be reviewed by the Chamber Committees; change proposals were submitted. 

From the sessions of the Government

At its session on 9 January, the Government appoved updated Action Plan for the Strategy for the Development of the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the Czech Republic (GeoInfoStrategie) The information about what spatial data exists, and where and under which circumstances it can be used, is missing. This leads to a situation whereby data are gathered and maintained multiple times. In October 2014, the Czech government approved the concept of the Strategy which serves as a basis for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). In June 2015 the GeoInfoStrategy Action Plan was approved. The vision of the GeoInfoStrategy is that the Czech Republic will use spatial information effectively by 2020.

At its session on 16 January, the Government approved updated Action plan to promote economic growth and employment in 2017. The Government passed the list of new localities for industrial zones and related investment plus plans of economic restructuring of the Karlovarsky, Moravskoslezsky and Ustecky regions.

The Government also approved ESA BIC Prague program, including funding, a more intensive cooperation with the European Space Agency ESA,  and program ETA focued on the support of applied research in social sciences.

At its session on 30 January, the Government passed the Report on the Implementation of the Strategy of Digital Education until 2020.

At its session on 26 January, the Legislative Council of the Government approved the draft Act on Whistleblowing.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic