The Czech President Zeman signed Act on Online Registration of Sales (EET - elektronická evidence tržeb) on 30 March after the Senate, the Upper Chamber of the Czech Parliament, passed the bill on 16 March.
From the sessions of the Government
At its session on 30 March, the Government passed the Insolvency Act and postponed debate over the Act on State Prosecution.
At its session on 21 March, the Government passed the concept of the army/defense applied research, development and innovation for 2016-2022 written by the Czech Ministry of Defense.
Also, the Government passed material intent of a bill setting the upper age limit for retirement at 65 or 67. The Government will decide in June.
At its session on 9 March, the Government approved the report on government-supported industrial zones.
At its session on 24 February, the Government passed transposition of the DIRECTIVE 2014/92/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 July 2014 on the comparability of fees related to payment accounts, payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features. The draft legislation is available here.
At its session on 17 February, the Government approved the National Policy of Research, Development and Innovations.
The Government expressed neutral position towards a draft amendment to the Act on Registry of Contracts. The authors of draft amendment propose exceptions for a specific group of state-owned companies (národní podnik).
From the sessions of the Senate
At its session starting on 2 March, the Senate approved the draft amendment to the Act on Universities (bill no. 193). The Chamber of Deputies greenlighted draft amendment on 27 January 2016. The stated intent of the bill is, among others, to regulate accreditation activities and ensure high quality of tertiary education in the Czech Republic, as well as regulate activities of branches of foreign universities operating in the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic experienced a surge in the number of university students between 2000 and 2014. In 2000, there were 8 private universities, compared with 44 private universities in 2014. The number of public universities increased by 2 (from 24 to 26) and the number of state universities decreased from 4 to 2 (3 army schools merged into 1) in the last 14 years. The number of new students entering Czech universities rised by 86 percentage points in that period and the share of those having tertiary education in the Czech population aged 25 to 64 grew from 10,96% to 19,28%. The diversity of study fields is high, with around 8829 study study fields in 2700 study programs (as of 30 June 2014).
From the sessions of the Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies passed draft amendment to the Act on Business Activities on the Capital Market Business (Capital Market Undertakings Act) (Bill no. 571) on 2 March. The aim of the proposal is to harmonize the Czech law with EU legislation. The proponents suggest provision of more informatio about the ownership structure of a company; shareholdres of companies with basic capital exceeding 500 mil CZK should be obliged to report to issuer and the Czech National Bank it their share of the company exceeds 1%. There should also be changes of administrative fees connected with capital market.
The Act on Protection of Competition (Bill no. 702) had its first reading on 9 March. The stated intention of the bill is alignment with the new Czech Civil Code, improved international cooperation between competition authorities, and introduction of rules for documents that contain trade or bank secrets or other confidential information, for example. The bill should be debated at the session of the Chamber of Deputies starting on 1 March.
On 18 December, 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 negative view, the Chamber of Deputies will debate the bill.
The draft Act on Collection of Acts and International Treaties (bill no. 646) had its first reading in the Chamber of Deputies on 20 January. MPs will debate the bill, change proposals are being submitted. The material introduces electronic process of making and adopting new legislation and allegedly lowers corruption risks related to the making of new regulations. The bill could come into effect on 1 January 2019.
At its session on 29 July 2015 the Government passed draft amendment to the Act on Association in Political Parties and Political Movements that deals with the issue of political party financing. The Bill no. 569 had its first reading on 20 January 2016 and the Chamber Committees have interrupted their debate over the bill. The stated intent of the draft act is to introduce more transparent control of financing of political parties and political movements. This includes using transparent bank accounts, setting limits for donations from physical and legal entities, providing detailed overview of incomes and expenditures within annual reports, including elections-related expenditures, and publishing annual reports on the internet. The draft act also gives political parties and movements the opportunity to set up research-oriented political institutes or think-tanks that would be eligible for state contributions. The draft act also provides for the foundation of an independent authority for controlling financing of political parties, based on GRECO (Group of States against Corruption under Council of Europe) recommendations. According to the draft amendment, the limit for a donation of an individual to a political party is set at 3 million CZK. The proposed limits for election campaign financing are following: 90 million CZK for general elections, 40 million CZK for presidential elections, 7 million CZK for regional elections, No limits were set for municipal elections, including the Prague Magistrate. The limit for elections to the European Parliament remains at 50 million CZK. Also, the Government passed draft act introducing changes to election-related acts and other related acts.
Draft amendment to the Act on the Conflict of Interest, bill no. 564, had its first reading in the Chamber of Deputies on 16 December 2015. The Chamber Committees interrupted their debate over the bill. The material proposes the introduction of an obligation to submit a declaration proving the origin of assets owned by public service officers/politicians on the very first day of his/her service in the new function. The current obligation requires submission of such declaration after one year in office.
Draft amendment to the Act on Criminal Liability of Legal Entities, Bill no. 304 is heading to the third reading. The Act entered into force on 1 January 2012 and comprises a list of acts for which a legal entity bears criminial liability. The intent of the draft amendment is to replace this list (comprising a limited number of criminal acts) by a list of criminal acts with which legal persons cannot be charged. This approach should cover a much wider range of criminal breaches, the proponents suggest.
The draft Act on Proving the Origin of Assets (Bill no. 235): the Government submitted its position (neutral) on the bill to the Chamber on 15 July 2014 and the first reading started in February 2015, postponed; continued on 9 February 2016. The bill was rejected.
At its session on 6 May 2015 the Government passed a draft amendment to the Act on the Support of Research, Experimental Development and Innovation. The material had its first reading in the Chamber of Deputies (Bill no. 489) on 16 September. The second reading started on 25 November 2015, change proposals were submitted. The aim of the bill is to harmonize the Czech law with the new EU legislation and thus increase clarity and applicability of the national legislation. The draft amendment comprises changes in terminology, definitions (industrial research, applied research, experimental development, research organizations), conditions for subsidies and cummulation thereof, etc.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs wrote a draft amendment to the Labor Code, proposing changes to regulation of homeworking, and measures for workplace stress prevention, among others. Another draft amendment suggests eliminating the institute of "karenční doba" related to sickness insurance.
The Ministry for Regional Development has been reviewing comments from the interministerial review of its draft amendment to the Construction Act. Click here to view the material.
The interministerial review of the draft amendment to the Act on Employment ended on 9 June. The purpose of the amendment is to regulate temporary employment, including chaining of fixed-term contracts, quotas for temporary employees and protection of temporary employees against insolvency of their employer. Click here to read the draft amendment.
The interministerial review of the draft amendment to the Act on the Residence of Foreigners in the Czech Republic ended on 6 June. The stated intent of the draft amendment is to make the Act simple, compact and user-friendly. For example, the proponents of the bill suggest separation of the EU agenda (entry, residence) from the agenda related to third countries' nationals. The new system should pass more responsibility on foreigners/applicants and/or entities that need these foreigners to enter and reside in the Czech Republic. Click here to read the draft amendment.