Slovakia: Posting of workers is stricter. What should employers in Slovakia be aware of
From 30 July 2020, all Member States are required to apply stricter rules on posting of workers to other Member States. In order to transpose the Directive 2018/957 into domestic legislation, the Slovak Republic has adopted an amendment to its Labour Code introducing new tighter requirements for posting of workers. These changes will affect employers from other Member States (non-domestic employers) who send their own workers temporarily to Slovakia. Employers in Slovakia (domestic employers) who intend to post their workers abroad should, however, also pay attention to the new rules, as similar changes will be adopted across the EU.
Duration of posting
Varying employment conditions, depending on the duration of posting, are just one of many changes that the new legislation introduces. There are still no limitations on the duration of posting itself. Employers posting their workers abroad have specific responsibilities from the first day on which the characteristics of posting are satisfied. The posting employer is, first of all, obliged to ensure that the terms and conditions of foreign employment correspond to those applicable in the host country. However, the scope of these terms and conditions is statutorily limited to, inter alia, minimum wage, minimum paid annual leave, maximum work periods, health and safety conditions (“hard core”). To put it simply, posted workers and domestic workers in the country to which the posted worker is sent should be treated equally.
For long-term postings lasting longer than 12 months, in addition to the “hard core” requirements as described above, foreign posted workers are subject to the full extent of the domestic labour law. There are certain exemptions such as the conclusion and termination of employment contract and non-competition clauses which continue to be governed by the provisions of the foreign Member State law from which the employee is posted.
When certain conditions are met, the limitation period described above can be extended to 18 months. Such an extension occurs when the non-domestic employer submits a motivated notification to the domestic labour inspectorate (in Slovakia, Národný inšpektorát práce) before the expiry of the 12-month period. The notification can be submitted using a form prescribed by the labour inspectorate or via the registration portal available on the inspectorate’s website. Employers in Slovakia posting their workers to other Member States have the same notification obligations towards authorities in the host country.
Where a posted worker replaces another posted worker performing the same task at the same place, the duration of the posting is the cumulative duration of the posting periods of the individual posted workers concerned.
According to the pre-amended Labour Code, employers posting their workers to Slovakia were obliged to provide minimum wage, minimum wage conditions, and payment for overtime work pursuant to the Slovak Labour Code and related labour law legislation. Now, posting employers are obliged to provide all constituent elements of remuneration rendered mandatory by national law of the host Member State. Posted workers in Slovakia are, therefore, under the current provisions, also entitled to allowances for night, weekend, and holiday work, wage compensation for working under difficult conditions, and other mandatory components of wage.
Conversely, undertakings in Slovakia posting their workers to another Member State are obliged to adhere to all statutory wage obligations in force in the respective host Member State. To that end, employers should seek to obtain information on employment regulations valid in the country where they intend to post their workers. Supervisory authorities in each Member State are obliged to publish an overview of such employment requirements on their respective websites.
Reimbursement of travel, lodging and board expenses now part of “hard core”
Prior to the effectiveness of the Directive, each Member State regulated reimbursement rules for travel expenses. Under the Slovak Act on Travel Expenses, employees posted from Slovakia to another Member State are guaranteed full reimbursement for incurred travel expenses for the duration of the posting; as if they were on a foreign business trip.
This Slovak legislation offers stronger employee protections than is the norm in the EU under the Directive. However, Slovak employers must consider the applicable laws in the host country and provide posted workers with the benefits of that system most favourable to the employee.
In order to ensure minimum terms and conditions of employment for posted workers, employers are, under the Directive, obliged to monitor the regulations laid down by collective agreements or arbitration awards. This is, however, limited only to collective agreements which, in the respective host Member State, have been declared universally applicable or otherwise apply in the geographical area and in the profession or industry concerned, and/or collective agreements which have been concluded by the most representative employers’ and labour organizations at the national level and which are applied throughout national territory of the respective Member State. In the Slovak Republic, collective agreements within the meaning of Section 7 of the Act on Collective Bargaining are considered to be such representative collective agreements.
Again, employers in Slovakia posting their workers to other Member States are obliged to examine the minimum terms and conditions of employment applicable under collective agreements which, in the respective Member State, have been declared universally applicable.
Any questions? Please contact: JUDr. Pavol Rak, Ph.D.
Practice group: Employment & Pensions