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Questions frequently asked by foreign employers

As each legal system is a little different, it is only natural that some of rules prescribed by Slovak laws can be a little less understandable for our foreign clients. When drafting employment contracts, our foreign clients often need more detailed explanation of Slovak legal rules and instruments.

Of course, each client is different and is interested in different aspect of Slovak employment law, but after working with clients from all around the world we find that some of their questions seem to be posed more frequently than others.

In this post we wish to sum up those questions that are posed most frequently and thus provide a very brief overview of some specifics of the Slovak laws that must be considered when thinking about concluding employment contract under Slovak law.

 

Is it common to agree on a probationary period? Are there any limits of such period?

It is very common to agree on a probationary period in an employment contract under Slovak law.

The Slovak Labour Code allows parties to agree on probationary period of (up to) three months.

In case of employees who are managers under the direct managerial competence of a statutory body or member of the statutory body, as well as for any manager who is under direct managerial competence of such manager the probationary period up to six months may be agreed.

 

What is a “degree of difficulty of jobs”?

 Pursuant to the Slovak Labour Code, employer is obliged to specify the degree of difficulty of each working place.

According to the Schedule No. 1 of the Slovak Labour Code depending on the level of complexity, responsibility and strenuousness of an employee’s work, jobs are defined by the certain specific characteristics and are classified into six degrees of work difficulty. E.g., a job corresponding to the – lowest – first degree of work difficulty is characterized by performance of ancillary, preparatory or handling work according to exact procedures and instructions, whereby a job corresponding to the – highest – sixth degree of work difficulty is characterized, among others, by the creative resolution of tasks in an uncommon manner with non-specified outcomes, involving a high level of responsibility for damage.

The minimum wage in Slovakia differs depending on the degree of the difficulty of the working place in question, therefore, the degree of jobs difficulty must be considered when specifying the minimum wage claims of employees.

 

Can overtime work be included in regular wage of an employee?

Overtime work can be included in regular wage of an employee only under certain specific circumstances.

Firstly, the employee in question must agree that his or her wage shall include possible overtime work.

Secondly, the agreement can be reached only with an employee who is a manager directly managed by the statutory body or by a member of the statutory body, with a manager who is directly managed by the aforesaid manager, and with an employee who carries out conceptual, systemic, creative or methodological activities, manages, organises or coordinates complex processes or extensive sets of very complicated facilities.

Finally, the contracting parties may agree that the employee’s wage shall include possible overtime work subject to a limit of 150 hours per calendar year.

 

Can we include a competition clause in an employment contract that shall apply after termination of employment?

The Slovak Labour Code allows the parties to agree the competition clause after termination of employment, however, only in case of certain specific employees – employees who are able to acquire information or knowledge that is not normally available and the use of which could cause substantial harm to the employer.

The employer is in such case obliged to provide appropriate financial compensation to the employee in the amount of at least 50% of the employee’s average monthly earnings for each month of his or her commitment.

Also contracting parties may agree in the employment contract on appropriate financial compensation which the employee is obliged to pay if he or she breaches this obligation. The amount of such financial compensation must, however, not exceed the total sum of the employer’s financial compensation mentioned above.

 

Is a breach of work discipline specified in the Slovak Labour Code?

Although the Slovak Labour Code uses the term breach of work discipline it does not provide definition thereof.

This term is especially important as it may result in employer’s right to give notice to employee or the right to terminate employment with immediate effect (depending on whether the breach in question may be considered as serious or less serious).

In order to avoid any possible misunderstandings as to whether in a particular case employee has breached the work discipline and whether such breach was serious or “only” less serious, we advise our clients to define the serious and less serious breach in their employment contracts.

 

Should you have any additional questions concerning employment law aspect, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.