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Working time and overtime work in Slovakia

Unlike other legislations, the Slovak law provides for a rather detailed regulation of employees’ working time and questions connected therewith and thus requires employers to observe several rules set forth in the Slovak Labour Code in this regard. Let us inform you about some of these rules that each employer needs to take into account when entering into employment relationship with employees in Slovakia.

According to the Slovak Labour Code, an employee’s working time may not be more than 40 hours per week. (The working time of an employee, whose working time is scheduled in such a manner that he/she regularly alternates working in both shifts under a two-shift work pattern, must not be more than 38 and 3/4 hours per week, and the working time for a three-shift or continuous work pattern must not be more than 37 and 1/2 hours per week.)

The Slovak Labour Code does not prohibit employers from ordering their employees overtime work or employees from working voluntarily overtime, however, there are certain statutory conditions that need to be met in order for employers/employees to do so. First of all, overtime work may only be ordered by an employer or agreed with an employee in cases of a temporary and urgent increased demand for labour, or in case the public interest is involved. Such overtime work may, however, not exceed on average eight hours per week within a period of not more than four consecutive months (unless employers agree with the employee representatives on a longer period, which must not exceed 12 consecutive months). It means that the employee’s average weekly working time, including any overtime work must not exceed 48 hours.

In this regard it should also be noted that the Slovak law enables an employer to order an employee to work maximum 150 hours overtime per year. An employee may carry out overtime work over 150 hours per year only on the basis of an agreement with an employer whereby overtime work overall may never exceed 400 hours per year.

We would also like to emphasize that providing an employee works overtime, he/she shall be entitled to the wage earned and to a preferential wage rate in the sum of at least 25% of his/her average earnings (an employee who carries out hazardous work shall be entitled to a preferential wage rate in the sum of at least 35% of his/her average earnings). An employer may also agree with their employee on taking of extra leave for overtime work whereby an employee is entitled to extra leave to the extent to which the overtime work lasted (in this case an employee is not entitled to the above preferential wage).

In this regard it should also be noted that besides the above allowances for overtime work, “Slovak” employees are also entitled to special allowances in case they work during a holiday, on weekends or at night. The amounts of such allowances are regulated by the Slovak Labour Code as follows:

  1. for work during a public holiday, an employee is entitled to the wage earned and to a preferential wage rate of at least 100% of his/her average earnings;
  2. for each hour of work on Saturday, an employee shall be entitled to the wage earned and to a preferential wage rate of at least 50% of the minimum wage in euros per hour under a special regulation;
  3. for each hour of work on Sunday, in addition to the wage earned, an employee shall be entitled to a preferential wage rate of at least 100% of the minimum wage in euros per hour under a special regulation, and
  4. for each hour of night work, an employee shall be entitled to the wage earned and a preferential wage rate of night work of at least 40% of the minimum wage in euros per hour under a special regulation (where an employee carrying out hazardous work is concerned, he/she shall be entitled to not less than 50% of the minimum wage in euros per hour under a special regulation).

We wish to repeatedly emphasize that the Slovak regulation of working time as well as allowances for working out of the agreed working time may differ from other EU legislations and may be viewed by foreign companies planning to enter into employment relationships in Slovakia as rather strict. Therefore, we advise all employers to pay particular attention to the above obligations and limits set forth in the Slovak Labour Code.