Living and working in Czech Republic

18 October 2017

  •   Population: 10.5 million (2017)
  •   Real GDP growth: 2.6% (2016)
  •   Unemployment rate: 4.0% (2016)

Data source: Eurostat

Eurofound provides research, data and analysis on a wide range of social and work-related topics. This information is largely comparative, but also offers country-specific information for each of the 28 EU Member States. Most information is available in English but some has been translated to facilitate access at national level.

Eurofound strives to strengthen the ongoing link between its own work and national policy debates and priorities related to quality of life and work. Increasingly important in this context is the Europe 2020 growth and jobs strategy launched in 2010, which has five headline targets, covering employment through to social inclusion and poverty reduction. The strategy is implemented in the context of the European Semester process – the EU's annual cycle of economic policy guidance and surveillance – which ensures that Member States keep their budgetary and economic policies in line with their EU commitments through, in part, National Reform Programmes. These programmes form the basis for the European Commission's proposals for country-specific recommendations (CSRs) for each Member State.

European Commission: The European Semester
European Commission: The European Semester - EU country-specific recommendations
European Commission: European Semester documents for Czech Republic

2015 Eurofound EWCS survey results in Czech Republic: 86% of people think their safety is not at risk because of their work

Survey results

 

Satisfaction with quality of life
Data source: 2012 EQLS survey

Ability to choose or change
methods of work

Data source: 2015 EWCS survey

Possibility to accumulate overtime
for days off

Data source: 2013 ECS survey

News and quarterly country updates

Eurofound contacts in Czech Republic

Correspondents in Czech Republic

Correspondents report on topics related to developments in the countries working life and inform Eurofound’s pan-European comparative analysis. Read more

Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (VUPSV)

Eurofound governing board members from Czech Republic

Eurofound's Governing Board represents the social partners and national governments of all Member States, as well as the European Commission. Read more

Vlastimil Vana Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Vladimíra Drbalová​ Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (SPCR)

Lucie Studničná Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (CMKOS)

Related content

More resources on Czech Republic

Other country-specific information may be available in certain areas on demand. Please feel free to contact your country contact at Eurofound for this or any other information at information@eurofound.europa.eu

Working life in Czech Republic

About

  • Author: Renata Kyzlinkova, Stepanka Lehmann, Petr Pojer and Sona Veverkova
  • Institution: Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA)

This profile describes the key characteristics of working life in the Czech Republic. It aims to complement other EurWORK research by providing the relevant background information on the structures, institutions and relevant regulations regarding working life. This includes indicators, data and regulatory systems on the following aspects: actors and institutions, collective and individual employment relations, health and well-being, pay, working time, skills and training, and equality and non-discrimination at work. The profiles are updated annually.

Key figures

Key figures

Comparative figures on working life in the Czech Republic

 

2011

2016

% (point) change
2011–2016

Czech Republic

EU28

Czech Republic

EU28

Czech Republic

EU28

GDP per capita

15200

25800

16400

26900

7.9%

4.3%

Unemployment rate – total

6.7

9.7

4.0

8.5

-2.7

-1.2

Unemployment rate – women

7.9

9.8

4.7

8.7

-3.2

-1.1

Unemployment rate – men

5.8

9.6

3.4

8.4

-2.4

-1.2

Unemployment rate – youth

18.1

21.7

10.5

18.7

-7.6

-3.0

Employment rate – total

70.5

71.1

75.0

73.0

4.5

1.9

Employment rate – women

62.2

64.8

67.6

67.4

3.5

2.6

Employment rate – men

78.7

77.5

82.2

78.6

3.5

1.1

Employment rate – youth

29.9

42.5

32.0

41.6

2.1

-0.9

Source: Eurostat - Real GDP per capita (chain linked volumes [2010], in EUR) and percentage change 2011-2016 (both based on tsdec100). Unemployment rate by sex and age - annual average, % [une_rt_a]; Employment rate by sex and age - annual average, % [lfsi_emp_a].

Background

Background

Economic and labour market context

From 2011 to 2016, GDP growth in the Czech Republic was substantial, with a 7.9% increase, above the EU average of 4.3%. In 2016, total unemployment stood at 4.0%, a decrease of 2.7 percentage points from 2011 and well below the EU average of 8.5% for the same year. Looking at gender, in 2016 male unemployment, 3.4%, was lower than female unemployment, at 4.7%. The rate of youth unemployment was down 7.6 percentage points from 2011 and stood at 10.5% in 2016. The youth employment rate showed an increase of 2.1 percentage points from 2011 to 2016, when it reached 32.0%, well below the EU average of 41.6%. 

More information on:

Legal context

Fundamental legislation regarding labour relations can be found in Act No. 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code, No. 435/2004 Coll. on Employment (as amended) and in Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining (as amended).The Labour Code regulates the way of origination, duration and termination of employment, working discipline, working conditions, working hours, breaks at work, overtime work, night work, sick leave, etc. It also regulates wages and reimbursement of wages, occupational health and safety, employee care, female and young workers' working conditions, labour disputes, compensation for damage, etc.. The Labour Code is closely linked to the Act No. 309/2006 Coll. Stipulating Further Requirements for Health and Safety at Work, which regulates requirements concerning occupational health and safety in labour law relations. The last extensive amendment, harmonising labour rules with EU law, was implemented in 2000 and further in 2006.

Act No. 435/2004 Coll. on Employment regulates the provision of the state’s employment policy, the goal of which is to attain full employment, to protect against unemployment, to ensure fair treatment and prohibit discrimination against persons asserting their right to employment and the activities performed by labour offices and their powers.

On 1 January 2014, Act No. 89/2012 Coll. Civil Code (New Civil Code) came into force. The new Civil Code does not contain direct regulations on employment relationships (which are to be found in Act No. 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code); however, it covers all matters not covered by the Labour Code. Previously, the Civil Code was applied to labour law only where the Labour Code explicitly referred to it.

Industrial relations context

There is no comprehensive legal regulation in the Czech Republic on trade unions, employer organisations and collective bargaining; these legal relations are provided for in several laws:

  • Act No 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code, which forms the legal basis for negotiating collective agreements at enterprise and higher level;
  • Act No. 435/2004 Coll. on Employment;
  • Act No 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining, which has been substantially amended as of 1 January 2007 in connection with the adoption of the new labour code and which continues to regulate the collective bargaining process at company and higher (sectoral) levels, the issue of settlement of collective disputes and extension of HLCAs.

The Collective Bargaining Act regulates the collective negotiations between the respective trade unions organisations and employers, the participation of the state, as the case may be, the purpose of which is the conclusion of an collective agreement. It regulates the terms of the collective agreement, the procedure of concluding collective agreements, collective disputes, a strike within a dispute related to the conclusion of a collective agreement, lockouts, etc.

Actors and institutions

Actors and institutions

Trade unions, employers’ organisations and public institutions play a key role in the governance of the employment relationship, working conditions and industrial relations structures. They are interlocking parts in a multilevel system of governance that includes the European, national, sectoral, regional (provincial or local) and company levels. This section looks into the main actors and institutions and their role in the Czech Republic.

Public authorities involved in regulating working life

Regulation of working conditions and industrial relations falls within the authority of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA). The primary role of MoLSA in the area of industrial relations and working conditions is to set up a legal framework for both individual and collective employment relations and to control its application. MoLSA also cooperates with the tripartite body Council for Economic and Social Agreement Council (Rada hospodářské a sociální dohody, RHSD).

The enforcement of employee’s rights is ensured in particular by the National Labour Inspectorate (Státní úřad inspekce práce, SÚIP), MoLSA’s subordinate body, its eight district labour inspectorates, and locally competent courts. There are no special labour courts in the Czech Republic; labour legislation including labour disputes falls within the authority of general courts. SÚIP and the district labour inspectorates supervise compliance with labour law by employers and employees. Its main task is to monitor compliance with legislation on matters such as health and safety at work, working conditions and employment relations. The main tasks include the checking of: compliance with employment legislation, occupational safety and health, inspections based on complaints received, employment agencies, the illegal employment of both Czech citizens and foreigners, etc. They also promote health and safety and provide counselling in relevant areas. SÚIP can fine employers and employees for detected offences.

Inspection of safety at work, technical devices, compliance with sanitary and counter-epidemiological regulations is also provided by specialised supervisory bodies such as the Technical Inspection of the Czech Republic (Technická inspekce ČR, TIČR), the State Mining Administration (Český báňský úřad, ČBÚ) and regional public health authorities.

MoLSA and its subordinate body, the Labour Office of the Czech Republic (Úřad práce ČR, ÚP ČR) exert authority over the national employment policy. The ÚP ČR acts as an intermediary in the labour market, provides counselling, applies measures of active employment policy, pays unemployment benefits, operates the register of jobseekers, foreign workers and free positions.

Representativeness

Social partners’ representativeness at the central level is addressed only for membership in the Council for Economic and Social Agreement (Rada hospodářské a sociální dohody ČR, RHSD ČR). The condition for participation of social partners in the Council of Economic and Social Agreement of the Czech Republic (RHSD ČR) is their representativeness expressed by the number of workers employed by their members. Criteria are set in the statute of RHSD ČR.

Employers’ organisations must have associate companies with 400,000 employees. Members of RHSD ČR are:

Trade unions are required to have 150,000 members. Members of RHSD ČR are:

More information on representativeness of the main social partner organisations can be found in Eurofound’s representativeness study of the cross-industry social partners or in Eurofound’s sectoral representativeness studies.

Trade unions

About trade union representation

Basic legal provisions of social dialogue for trade unions (and employers) are embedded in Act No 23/1991 Coll. Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which is part and parcel of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic, providing in Art. 27 for coalition freedom, the right to associate and unionise.

From 1990 to 2013, the establishment and existence of trade union organisations and associations was provided for by Act No. 83/1990 regulating the association of citizens. Since January 2014, the subject has been directly addressed by the new civil code (Act No. 89/2012 Coll. Civil Code) regulating employers’ association and position in sub-section 2 on societies/associations (Articles 214–302) and in Articles 3025 and 3046.

There is no comprehensive legal regulation in the Czech Republic on trade unions, employer organisations and collective bargaining; these legal relations are provided for in several laws, namely in Act No 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code and further in Act No 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining. This second act has been substantially amended as of 1 January 2007 in connection with adoption of the new labour code and which continues to regulate the collective bargaining process at the company and higher (sectoral) levels, the issue of settlement of collective disputes and extension of HLCAs.

An employee is free to join a trade union or not to join as he/she chooses. Consequently it is unfair to dismiss any employee either because he is or because he is not a member of a trade union. Trade union membership is voluntary; one can resign his/her membership any time. Trade union bodies are entitled to take part in labour law relations, including collective bargaining under the conditions stipulated by law. From this law are excluded members of the armed forces only. There are over 30,000 employees in the Department of Defence who are excluded from the right to collective bargaining (source: Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic). For a trade union to operate with the police forces, the firefighting service and the customs service, the legal regulations prescribe the minimum representativeness of 40%.

A trend of continuous decrease in trade union membership continues. During the last 11 years, trade union density has decreased from 20.6% to 12.7%; between 2011 and 2015 it dropped from 16% to 12.7%, that is, over three percentage points.

The overall decrease in the number of union members in the last three years (2012 compared to 2015) was about 36,500 members: 6.8%.

Trends since 2004 (i.e. since the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU) can be summarised as follows:

  • a decrease in union membership from 816,000 to 500,000 in 2015, about 38%;
  • a decrease in union density from 20.6% in 2004 to 12.7% in 2015.

The number of trade unions associated with the two main union confederations (ČMKOS and ASO ČR) was 42 in 2003/2004 and 42 also in 2016 (ČMKOS 29 member TUs and ASO ČR 13 member TUs). In the meantime, the membership of the ASO ČR increased by five members while that of the ČMKOS decreased by five members. Some unions ceased to exist, some merged and some became autonomous.

There is no limitation on the right to join unions now and there never has been. The Czech Republic has just one very small ‘yellow’ union called the Christian Trade Union Coalition (Křesťanská odborová koalice, KOK) which had about 2,500 members in 2015. It represents only ca. 0.5% of all trade union members.

The most prevalent level of collective bargaining in the Czech Republic is the company level.

The company-level collective agreements (CLCAs) concluded in 2015 applied to 1,315 million employees, 31.6% of the 4.16 million registered employees. In 2014, CLCAs applied to 1.27 million employees, 31.3% of the 4.06 million registered employees (this number represents a 0.3% increase). In 2013,CLCAs applied to 1.35 million employees, 33.2% of the 4,074 million employees.

High-level collective agreements covered 557,825 employees in 2014 (in 2013: 620,655 employees) and after extension, 779,110 employees (in 2013: 852,702 employees).

Unfortunately, no recent information is available on the number of employees covered by higher-level collective agreements, with respect to which ČMKOS commented: ‘It is not possible to provide an overview of the extent of HLCAs in 2015 due to the unavailability of data from some trade union associations – compared with 2014, there was a marked reduction in the number of member associations that provided such information.’

The above-mentioned data refer only to the largest union confederation ČMKOS.

Trade union membership and trade union density

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Trade union density in terms of active employees

16%

14%

13%

14%*

12.9%*

12.7%*

n. a.

Trade union membership in 1000s

632.9

556.4

536.5

549.9*

524.0*

500.0*

n. a.

Source: 2010-2012 OECD/Visser 2013-2016 * National source (RILSA Prague – own calculations based on the data of trade unions).

Other data about trade union membership and union density are from the three largest trade union confederations, ČMKOS, ASO ČR, KUK, and from 29 independent unions (own calculation)

Main trade union confederations and federations

There are three main trade union confederation in the Czech Republic: ČMKOS, ASO ČR, KUK.

Main trade union confederations and federations

Long name

Abbreviation

Members 2016

Involved in collective bargaining?

Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (Českomoravská konfederace odborových svazů, ČMKOS)

ČMKOS

297,762

(As of 30 June 2016)

Yes

Association of Autonomous Trade Unions of the Czech Republic (Asociace samostatných odborů České republiky, ASO ČR)

ASO ČR

78,000

(estimation for end of 2016)

Yes

Confederation of art and culture (Konfederace umění a kultury, KUK)

KUK

30,825 (as of 31 December 2016)

Yes

Some of the largest trade union federations in the Czech Republic are members of ČMKOS. As of June, 2016, these are:

  • Czech Metalworkers’ Federation KOVO (OS KOVO), which according to trade union data had 95,691 members (Note: this total number of members includes members-pensioners too);
  • Trade Union of the Health Service and Social Care in the Czech Republic (OSZSP ČR) with 25,440 members;
  • Czech-Moravian Trade Union of Workers in Education (ČMOS PŠ) with 19,668 members;
  • Trade union ECHO (OS ECHO) with 20,087 members;
  • Trade Union on State Bodies and Organisations (Odborový svaz státních orgánů a organizací) with 19,690 members;
  • Trade Union of Workers in Mines, Geology and the Oil Industry (OS PHGN) with 11,956 members;
  • Trade Union of Workers in Postal, Telecommunication and Newspaper Services (OSZPTNS) with 12,013 members;
  • Trade Union of Building Workers of the Czech Republic (OS Stavba ČR), with 9,753 members.

At the end of 2016, the largest trade union confederation ČMKOS had still 29 member unions.

The third largest trade union confederation in terms of members and importance is the Confederation of art and culture (Konfederace umění a kultury, KUK), which used to be a member of the RHSD ČR. In December 2016, according to its own data, KUK comprised 13 trade unions with 30,825 members.

Over the last five years, the number of unions in the ČMKOS decreased from 32 to 29. The unions that left the ČMKOS are: Independent Trade Union of Police Corps in the Czech Republic (Nezávislý odborový svaz Policie ČR, NOS PČR) which is independent since 2012 (11,995 members as of 31.12.2016), the union PROJEKT (merged with the trade union ECHO) and the Confederation of Union Transport Services (Svaz odborových služeb v dopravě) (now independent union SOSAD).

Representativeness or, more precisely, the membership of the two biggest union confederations showed during last five years a marked decrease in 2011–2016 of 26.7% in the ČMKOS and even by around 45 % in case of the ASO ČR.

There is a certain degree of coordination between the ČMKOS and the ASO ČR. It concerns an exchange of opinions and consultation on joint steps, especially with respect to preparation of the plenary session of the RHSD ČR (Council for Economic and Social Agreement of the Czech Republic). Otherwise both confederations are autonomous and their cooperation cannot be described as very intensive.

Employers’ organisations

About employers’ representation

Employers´ interests in national-level social dialogue in the Czech Republic are represented by two largest employer confederations, SP ČR and KZPS ČR, which are part of the tripartite bodies. Both social partners hold talks on a tripartite platform within RSHD ČR, when the Plenary Session of the RHSD ČR – the highest tripartite body – consists of the Czech Prime Minister, seven government members, seven trade unionists and seven employer representatives.

Membership in the above employer´s organisations is voluntary and members are required to pay membership fees. Employer´s associations assert their interests within the business branch generally and represent employers in the context of RHSD. Employer’s associations comment on draft legislation, are involved in consultation or representation at collective bargaining, influence economic and social policy via joining of expert teams, take part in trade delegations accompanying the highest government representatives at state and official visits abroad and are active as members in working groups within international organisations.

Social dialogue on the part of employers is also represented by the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (Svaz obchodu a cestovního ruchu ČR, SO ČR) which doesn´t directly participate in the tripartite bodies (SO ČR is represented, based on mutual agreement, by the SP ČR and finally also the Confederation of Bohemian and Moravian Cooperatives (SČMD).The Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic (Hospodářská komora ČR, HK ČR) tries to play a similar role and in many respects it speaks out in favour of the protection of interests of employers and the business sector in general. However, it is not an association of employers within the meaning of the above-mentioned international documents and is not party to the national social dialogue. The Czech Chamber of Commerce consists of nearly 15,000 members (legal and physical entities) in the form of 60 regional and 100 sectoral associations.

The following two employers’ organisations are not involved in collective bargaining, either:

  • Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Crafts of the Czech Republic (Asociace malých a středních podniků a živnostníků ČR, AMSP ČR) – it represents the interests of a total of around 260,000 business entities;
  • Syndicate of Businessmen and Tradesmen of the Czech Republic (Sdružení podnikatelů a živnostníků ČR, SPŽ ČR) which organises smaller private entrepreneurs.

Employers’ organisations – membership and density

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Source

Employers organisation density in terms of active employees

57%*

61%*

64% *

63%*

61%*

*own calculation based on data from SP ČR, KZPS ČR and SO ČR

* Source of national data for 2012–2016: data from three greatest employers´ associations: SP ČR, KZPS ČR and SO ČR (see table 4 below) and from Eurofound’s Czech Republic: Industrial relations profile (2012).

Percentage of employees working in an establishment which is a member of any employer organisation that is involved in collective bargaining.

Main employers’ organisations

  • Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (Svaz průmyslu a dopravy ČR, SP ČR)
  • Confederation of Employer and Entrepreneur Associations of the Czech Republic (Konfederace zaměstnavatelských a podnikatelských svazů ČR, KZPS ČR)
  • Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (Svaz obchodu a cestovního ruchu ČR, SO ČR) – which is a new member of SP ČR since 29 March 2016

Main employers’ organisations and confederations

Long name

Abbreviation

Members

2016

Involved in collective bargaining?

Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (SP ČR)

SP ČR

Represents 11,000 members with 1,300,000 employees

2016

yes

Confederation of Employer and Entrepreneur Associations of the Czech Republic (KZPS ČR)

KZPS ČRR

Represents 22,000 members with 1,300,000 employees

2016

yes

Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (SOCR).

SOČR*

Over 6,000 single members with 500,000 employees

2016

yes

Source of national data for 2016: data from three greatest employer´s associations: SP ČR, KZPS ČR and SOČR (data obtained from secretariat of SO ČR).

*SOČR is since 29 March 2016 a member of SP ČR

Tripartite and bipartite bodies and concertation

The tripartite forum at national level, the Council of Economic and Social Agreement (Rada hospodářské a sociální dohody, RHSD ČR) is the country’s main social dialogue institution. The task of the RHSD is a strictly consultative function. The aim of the tripartite organisation is to reach agreement via mutually respected forms of dialogue in fundamental areas of economic and social development. Above all it wants to maintain social consensus as a prerequisite for positive development of the economy as well as citizens’ standard of living.

The top negotiating body of the tripartite organisation is the Plenary Meeting, where the government delegation is represented by eight members, employer organisations by seven representatives – namely from the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (Svaz průmyslu a dopravy ČR, SP ČR) and the Confederation of Employer and Entrepreneur Associations of the Czech Republic (Konfederace zaměstnavatelských a podnikatelských svazů ČR, KZPS ČR) – and union confederations by seven members – namely from the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (Českomoravská konfederace odborových svazů, ČMKOS) and Association of Independent Trade Unions (Asociace samostatných odborů ČR, ASO ČR). The criteria for participation are set in the RHSD Statute.

In a European perspective, the Czech Republic is one of the countries in which tripartite concentration covers a wide array of activities. The areas on which the RHSD may comment are defined by its own statute: economic policy, labour relations, collective bargaining and employment, social issues, public service wages and salaries, public administration, safety at work, development of human resources and education, and the Czech Republic’s position within the EU.

There are also regional tripartite bodies, which deal with similar areas to those dealt by the national body. The issues they deal with are defined by their statutes.

There is no bipartite body in the Czech Republic.

Main tripartite and bipartite bodies

Name

Type

Level

Issues covered

Council of Economic and Social Agreement (Rada hospodářské a sociální dohody, RHSD)

Tripartite

National

Economic policy, labour relations, collective bargaining and employment, social issues, public service wages and salaries, public administration, safety at work, development of human resources and education.

Regional Councils of Economic and Social Agreement (krajské Rady hospodářské a sociální dohody)

Tripartite

Regional

Similar to those above, defined by the statute of each regional tripartite (13)

Workplace-level employee representation

Employee representatives – that is, trade unions, works councils, and safety at work and health protection stewards – are required by law to keep employees in all workplaces informed about their activities, and about the content and conclusions of all information and negotiations with the employers. Employee representatives must neither profit from, nor be discriminated against because of their membership of the works council.

Trade unions play by far the most significant role in employee representation not only in terms of competency, but also because of their existence in the workplace, and function in social dialogue, particularly collective bargaining. Only trade unions can represent employees in labour relations, in collective bargaining while concluding collective agreements, and in tripartite negotiations in the RHSD.

Employees may be represented by a works council, which has no legal subjectivity and which can act only as a mediator between employers and employees to ease the flow of information and consultation within a company. The term of office for a member of a works council, or for a safety at work and health protection steward, is up to three years.

Regulation, composition and competences of the bodies

 

Regulation

Composition

Competences of the body

Involved in company level collective bargaining?

Thresholds/rules when they need to be/can be set up

Trade union

(Odborová organizace in Czech)

Act No. 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code and Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining.

Anybody, apart from military. The right to engage in trade union activities in the units of the police or in fire brigades is restricted to units where at least 40% of staff are organised.

Yes

Trade union can be set up by a minimum of three people (whether they work for the same employer or not). An employer is not allowed to prohibit the establishment of new trade union organisations and their activities.

Works council

(Rada zaměstnanců in Czech)

Act No. 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code.

Employees. The authority of a works council shall not be limited to any specific sectors or in other ways.

No

The employer shall organise an election into works council on the basis of a written proposal signed by at least one third of the employees, not later than within three months of the date of delivery of such proposal.

Safety at work and health protection steward

(Zástupce odborové organizace pro otázky bezpečnosti a ochrany zdraví při práci in Czech)

Act No. 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code.

Employees. The authority of works council shall not be limited to any specific sectors or in other ways.

No

The employer shall depend on the total number of employees employed with that employer and the risk exposures contained in the work performed; however, the upper limit shall be set at one steward per ten employees.

Employee representation at establishment level

In the figure, we see a comparison between Czech Republic and European Union for the people with 'Establishment size : All' when asked 'Official structure of employee representation present at establishment'. For the 'Yes' answer, Czech Republic's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'No' answer, Czech Republic's score is higher than the European Union score. The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: ECS 2013. Private sector establishments with more than 10 employees. Eurofound data visualisation.

Collective bargaining

Collective bargaining

Bargaining system

In the Czech Republic, it is possible to conclude both higher-level collective agreements (HLCAs) and company-level collective agreements (CLCAs). Both higher-level collective agreements and company-level collective agreements are legally binding. The most common level of collective bargaining in the Czech Republic consists of that held at the company level. Collective bargaining at the national level does not exist.

Collective bargaining has been relatively stable; there is no trend to centralise it, with trade union confederations and employer associations being entirely autonomous.

Wage bargaining coverage

Wage bargaining coverage is slightly above 30%: this number has been relatively stable since 2006.

Collective bargaining coverage – national data

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Sectoral level, so called ‘higher level agreements’

15.8%

15.2%

13.7%

n. a.

n. a.

Company level

33.9%

33.2%

31.3%

31.6%

30.4%

Source: ČMKOS

Report on the progress of collective bargaining at a higher (sectoral) level and company level 2012–2016.

   

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Sectoral level

Number of HLCAs conducted for this year:

Number of employers to which HLCAs apply:

Number of employees covered by conducted HLCAs:

24 HLCAs

7,933 enterprises

629,733 employees

24

7,156

620,665

24

7,046

557,825

21

n. a.

n. a.

23

n. a.

n. a.

Company level

Number of employers in which parent organisation of union operates:

Number of CLCAs conducted for this year:

Number of employees covered by conducted CLCAs:

5,356 employers

4,680 CLCAs

1,351,127

5,087

4,739

1,361,065

4,913

3,966

1,289,998

4,803

3,910

1,315,259

4,660

3,849

1,291,339

Note: The national data are for ČMKOS members only (based on source below), except for the number of HLCAs, which is for the Czech Republic as a whole.

Source: ČMKOS, Report on the progress of collective bargaining at a higher (sectoral) level and company level in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.

Unfortunately, no information is available on the number of employees covered by higher-level collective agreements for the years 2015 and 2016 (ČMKOS was unable to obtain such data from individual member trade union associations).

Bargaining levels

1. Higher-level collective agreements (HLCAs) serve as a framework or guide for the determination of company-level collective agreements: they set out minimum standards with respect to wages and working time which are subsequently adhered to in company-level collective agreements; CLCAs can set out higher standards, but not lower. Higher-level collective agreements and company level collective agreements are legally binding.

No register is maintained of company-level collective agreements concluded in the Czech Republic; however, higher-level collective agreements are monitored by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic (Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí České republiky, MPSV ČR).

The most important level of collective bargaining in the Czech Republic is company level. The closed HLCAs serve as a framework or guideline to determine the form of company collective agreements in the sector. HLCAs are usually concluded between social partners in the following sectors: chemistry and energetics; machinery incl. aviation industry; mining and oil industry; construction; wood processing, forestry and water management; textile, apparel and leather industry; banking and insurance sector; wholesale, retail and tourism industry; postal, telecommunication and newspaper services; in transportation (road transport services); in road transport management and car repairs.

The number of employees to whom concluded HLCAs relate is continually declining.

Levels of collective bargaining, 2016

 

National level (Intersectoral)

Sectoral level

Company level

 

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Wages

Working time

Principle or dominant level

       

X

X

Important but not dominant level

   

X

X

   

Existing level

           

Articulation

Higher-level collective agreements set up minimum standards of wages and working time – this standard is then followed by company-level collective agreements – CLCA can set higher standards, but not lower.

Timing of the bargaining rounds

The vast majority of negotiations on a new collective agreement (or amendment to a collective agreement) begin in the fourth quarter of the year. Contracts are signed mostly in the period between December and January the next year. This applies to bargaining at the company level and at the sector level. Higher level agreements are usually concluded for one year, although this period has been gradually extending over recent years. Company-level collective agreements are usually concluded for a period of one year.

Coordination

There is no coordination mechanism for collective (wage) bargaining in the Czech Republic, but higher-level collective agreements usually give minimum standards for collective bargaining at the company level.

Extension mechanisms

The extension of a binding higher-level collective agreement to another employer is possible under the conditions of Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic (Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí České republiky, MPSV ČR) possesses the relevant powers to ensure agreements are extended, based on a proposal made by both contractual parties to the agreement, provided that the conditions determined by law are met. There are no voluntary mechanisms of extension.

From a total number of 23 higher-level collective agreements conducted in 2016, 4 were extended. Unfortunately, the number of employees covered by these 23 HLCAs concluded for 2016 is not known (see the above note pertaining to collective bargaining coverage and the ČMKOS trade union headquarters).

Derogation mechanisms

Derogation mechanisms, such as opening or opt-out clauses, do not exist in the Czech Republic.

Expiry of collective agreements

If the collective agreement expires and there is no new collective agreement concluded, employment relationship is then regulated by legislation, mostly by Act. No. 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code.

Other aspects of working life addressed in collective agreements

Czech social dialogue is conservative (it deals mostly with wages, working time and social benefit) when topics of social bargaining remain stable. New topics were brought by accession to the EU in 2004, but pre accession trade unions and employer representatives were cooperating with their EU partners and with European transnational representatives of employees and employers to implement EU directives related to working conditions. The social partners were obliged to deal with new topics such as discrimination at work, work-related stress, telework, and conditions for employee personal development. ČMKOS first began to deal with the gender equality issue in 2005, when it started to monitor this topic in collective agreements concluded by their members. The 2005 Progress Report on Higher-Level and Company-Level Collective Bargaining, an annual update drawn up by the ČMKOS, first mentioned the collective bargaining targets for 2006 in the field of work-family balance (measures to close the pay gap, working time tailored for parents with small children, offer of part-time jobs upon parents’ requirements, etc.). The number of CLCAs, which deal with these topics, is increasing (Source: IPP by Trexima), however, still it is not a common part of CLCA.

Industrial action and disputes

Industrial action and disputes

Legal aspects

Czech law recognises two type of industrial action: strikes and lockout.

The right to strike, as a fundamental human right, is guaranteed in Act No. 2/1993 Coll. Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which forms part of the Constitution of the Czech Republic. Article 27 (Section IV) of the Charter states that the right to strike is guaranteed in accordance with the conditions laid down by law; this right is not held by judges, members of the armed forces and members of security forces. The legality of a strike is also limited by the Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining which covers strikes related to collective bargaining. This means that strikes can be divided into:

  • Strikes related to Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining – these strikes, their requirements and their procedure are precisely regulated by law. A strike, as understood by the act is a legal instrument to settle collective disputes concerning the negotiation and conclusion of a collective agreement. A dispute on a change to an agreement already in force is also considered a collective dispute if the possibility and extent of changes has been agreed in a collective agreement. Collective disputes are disputes which do not give rise to entitlements of individual employees. A precondition for a strike, however, is that all regulations set out by the act be observed.
  • Strikes outside the scope of the Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining – there is no law in the legal code to implement above mentioned Article 27, concerning strikes other than strikes addressed in the Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining. However, this does not mean, that all types of strikes other than those addressed by the above mentioned act are prohibited – the court decides if a particular strike is legal or not.

The above mentioned Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining also recognise solidarity strike to support employees striking for the conclusion of a collective agreement are addressed by the law.

Strikes are relatively rare in the Czech Republic. Strike alerts are used more often, but strike alerts are not defined by the law.

A lockout is covered under the Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining. The definition of a lockout is partial or complete stoppage of work by an employer, where the employer may, as a final solution for resolving a dispute about the conclusion of a collective agreement, declare a lockout, if an agreement cannot be reached even after proceedings in the presence of a mediator and the contracting parties do not request an arbitrator to resolve the dispute. The start of a lockout, its extent, the reasons for it and a list of names of employees to whom the lockout applies must be notified by the employer to the competent trade union body at least three working days in advance. The employer is required to give the employees concerned the same period of notice. The law specifies situations in which a lockout is unlawful. In general this applies to situations where a lockout would affect the employees of medical facilities, which might endanger the health or life of the public, as well as lockouts affecting judges or state representatives.

Industrial action developments 2012–2014

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Source

Working days lost per 1000 employees

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

None.

Number of strikes (sectoral level /company level)

0

0

0

0/3

0/0

ČMKOS (see source below)

Number of strike alerts

(sectoral level /company level)

0/0

0/7

0/8

0/10

0/5

ČMKOS (see source below)

Note: There is no legally defined reporting service in this area. These activities by the social partners have not been centrally monitored since the mid-1990s.

Source: ČMKOS, Report on the progress of collective bargaining at a higher (sectoral) level and company level in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 (data for ČMKOS member only).

Dispute resolution mechanisms

Collective dispute resolution mechanisms

The procedure for resolving collective labour disputes is governed by Act No. 2/1991 Coll. on collective bargaining. The Act provides that collective disputes are disputes concerning the conclusion of a collective agreement or disputes about the fulfilment of commitments in a collective agreement (company-level or higher-level) that do not establish claims for individual employees. The parties to collective disputes are the parties to a collective agreement. Collective disputes, whether concerning the conclusion of a collective agreement or the fulfilment of commitments established by a collective agreement which do not establish claims for individual employees, are resolved in proceedings with a mediator or an arbiter. That means that, among other things, the Czech Republic only has a two-tier concept for the resolution of collective labour disputes (where conciliation and mediation merge into one).

Individual dispute resolution mechanisms

Disputes between employers and the employees about the rights resulting from the employment relationship are usually heard and decided by courts in the Czech Republic. Compared with the court settlement of labour disputes, the application of other procedures such as conciliation, mediation or arbitration procedure in this legal context is still of minor importance.

Use of dispute resolution mechanisms

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Collective disputes settled though mediator in terms of concluding HLCA

4

1

1

0

4

Collective disputes settled though arbiter in terms of concluding HLCA

0

0

0

0

0

Collective disputes settled though mediator in terms of concluding CLCA

8

8

15

11

17

Collective disputes settled though arbiter in terms of concluding CLCA

1

1

0

1

0

Source: ČMKOS, Report on the progress of collective bargaining at a higher (sectoral) level and company level in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 (data are for ČMKOS members only).

Individual employment relations

Individual employment relations

Individual employment relations are the relationship between the individual worker and their employer. This relationship is shaped by legal regulation and by the outcomes of social partner negotiations over the terms and conditions governing the employment relationship. This section looks into the start and termination of the employment relationship and entitlements and obligations in the Czech Republic.

Start and termination of the employment relationship

Requirements regarding an employment contract

Employment is based most often on conclusion of an employment contract. The employment contract must specify the following information: the type of work that the employee is supposed to do, place of work and the starting date. The employer and employee have to reach agreement on the above mentioned details. In addition to these, the contracting parties may also agree on other aspects that they wish to include, particularly special working conditions deviating from the generally applicable legal regulation (such as conditions for home-working, job sharing etc.).

With regard to employment contracts, the Labour Code defines the contract for an indefinite period of time as a standard, but it also allows conclusion of employment contracts for a definite period of time. However, the contract for definite period of time may be concluded a maximum of three times and each period cannot exceed three years. Further similar contracts can be concluded only after legally prescribed conditions are met (this applies for seasonal workers especially) In the employment contract, parties may agree on the length of a trial period which, by law, can be no more than three months for rank-and-file employees and six months for managerial employees.

Next to the standard employment contracts, the Labour Code makes it possible to conclude agreements on work performed outside employment – agreement to complete a job (dohoda o provedení práce) and an agreement to perform work (dohoda o pracovní činnosti), which are relatively popular in some sectors (such as construction, hotels and restaurants sectors). An agreement to complete a job can be concluded only in such a case that the range of work will not exceed 300 hours in a calendar year for the same employer and for each month in which the income is higher than CZK 10,000 (EUR 370), the employer is required to pay for the employee social security and health insurance. An agreement to perform work is concluded for a maximum period of 52 weeks and the work may not exceed half of the set weekly working hours.

Dismissal and termination procedures

Employers or employees may terminate employment in several ways:

  • by agreement – between the employer and the employee in writing, by a certain date;
  • by notice – in writing, by the employer (indicating statutory reasons) or by the employee (without a reason indicated);
  • by moment’s cancellation – by the employee (allowed only for serious health reasons or because salary has not been paid within 15 days of the due date);
  • by cancellation within the probation period – by the employer or the employee, also without a reason indicated;
  • by a lapse of the agreed period in case of the fixed-term employment.

It is prohibited to terminate employment with an employee during the period of protection.

If notice has been given, employment shall end only after the notice period. The notice period is identical for both employers and employees and is at least two months.

An employee can hand in notice for any reason, or without a reason stated. An employer may terminate employment unilaterally only for the reasons expressly defined by the Labour Code.

These reasons are as follows:

  • the employer, or one of its branches, shuts or relocates;
  • the employee becomes redundant as a result of a decision made by the employer or the competent body to change its business or commercial objectives;
  • the employee can no longer perform as expected, because of ill health;
  • the employee does not meet the prerequisites prescribed by the statutory provisions for the performance of the agreed work, or does not meet the requirements for the proper performance of such work;
  • the employee seriously breaches some duty arising from the statutory provisions and related to the work performed by him/her, or reasons for the immediate cancellation of employment are given

An amendment to the Labour Code (Act No. 365/2011) of 2011 has introduced a new reason for a notice: Article 52(h) states that an employer may terminate employment for a gross breach of the regime of an employee temporarily incapable of work during the first 14 calendar days.

From 1 January 2014, the legal representative of an employee under the age of 16 is entitled to terminate the minor employee’s employment by immediate cancellation of the contract.

See also further information on unemployment benefit provisions in the Czech Republic.

Entitlements and obligations

Parental, maternity and paternity leave

An employee (mother) is entitled to 28 weeks of maternity leave in connection with a birth. She begins maternity leave at least six or at most eight weeks before the expected date of birth. In case of a multiple birth, the mother is entitled to 37 weeks of maternity leave. The minimum length of maternity leave taken in the case of birth cannot be shorter than 14 weeks and cannot be finished or interrupted before six weeks have passed since the date of birth.

Responsibility for the payment of the maternity leave allowance lies with Czech Social Security Administration (Česká správa sociálního zabezpečení, ČSSZ). The maternity benefit (maternity leave allowance) corresponds to 70% of the claimant’s reduced daily reference amount (basis of assessment). An insured person who is the father of a child or husband of a woman who bore the child also has the right to maternity benefit, if the person has concluded a written agreement with the mother of the child that he will take over the care for the child from the mother. The agreement must include data laid down by law, and may be concluded with effect no sooner than the beginning of the seventh week after the birth.

Parental leave applies to the mother of the child after the end of her maternity leave and to the father of the child since the child’s birth. They can apply for parental leave from their employer until the child is three years old. The parental allowance can be received until the child is four years old. In recent years, the amount of the parental allowance has been modified several times and the maximum amount of allowance the parent can receive is capped at CZK 220,000 (EUR 8,142). The allowance is paid monthly. The parent can choose the number of months he/she wants to receive the allowance, and the maximum amount is divided accordingly and paid monthly up to a limit of CZK 11,500 (EUR 426) per month. Since 2013, a parent has been able to use full day childcare facilities for children over the age of two years and receive parental allowance simultaneously. This provision aims to support parents (especially mothers) of small children who want to return to paid employment earlier and take advantage of earned income while receiving parental allowance.

Although the legislation enables Czech men to take parental leave, usually up to the children’s third birthday, on the same conditions as for women, men taking parental leave represent only 1.8% of all parental leavers. Moreover, this proportion has been constant over the last five years with figures of between 1.6% and 1.8%.

Statutory leave arrangements

Maternity leave

Maximum duration

28 weeks – 37 weeks in case of multiple birth

Reimbursement

70% of the claimant’s reduced daily reference amount

Who pays?

Czech Social Security Administration

Legal basis

Act No. 262/2006 Coll. the Labour Code; Act No. 187/2006 Coll. on Sickness Insurance

Parental leave

Maximum duration

Up to child’s third birthday (stipulated by Labour Code). Fathers are entitled to take parental leave in the same extent and under the same conditions as it is for women. Partners are allowed to switch when taking parental leave.

Reimbursement

Parental benefits up to child’s fourth birthday. Parental allowance is paid to a parent until the youngest child in the family is 4, up to a maximum amount of 220,000 CZK (EUR 8,142).

Who pays?

Czech Social Security Administration

Legal basis

Act No. 262/2006 Coll. the Labour Code; Act No. 187/2006 Coll. on Sickness Insurance

Paternity leave

Maximum duration

There is presently no statutory entitlement. The government recently approved an amendment to introduce one week of paternity leave within six weeks of the birth of a child. It is expected that the new benefit will come into force at the end of 2017 depending on the pace of the legislative process. It is assumed that fathers on paternity leave will be entitled to the same amount of benefit as women on maternity leave, that is 70% of the daily assessment basis (for further details see Czech Republic: Paternity leave set to be introduced in early 2017). 

Reimbursement

A parent may decide on the monthly amount of parental allowance and thus the period of paid parental leave (the most often period is up to 3 years of child). The maximum monthly amount is 11,500 CZK (EUR 426).

Who pays?

Czech Social Security Administration

Legal basis

Act No. 262/2006 Coll. the Labour Code; Act No. 187/2006 Coll. on Sickness Insurance

Sick leave

From 1 January 2014, an employee is entitled to sickness benefit from the fifteenth calendar day of his or her temporary incapacity for work. Until 31 December 2013 benefit was paid from the 21st calendar day.

During the first two weeks of the temporary incapacity for work, an employer provides the employee with a compensation wage for working days; however, the compensation for wages, salary or remuneration is not paid for the first three days of this period. The employee is only entitled to the compensation wage for the period of the employment relationship that establishes the participation in sickness insurance.

The support period lasts no longer than 380 calendar days from the date of the temporary incapacity to work or quarantine order, unless stated otherwise.

The amount of sickness benefit per calendar day is 60% of the reduced daily basis of assessment.

Sickness insurance for employees is regulated by Act No. 187/2006 Coll. on sickness insurance.

Retirement age

Two fundamental processes apply to the calculation of retirement age.

The first process is approximation of retirement age of men and women. At present, women still retire earlier than men, specifically depending on the number of children born (each child born to a woman decreases her retirement age by 16 months). The retirement age, regardless of the number of children born, will be fully equalised not earlier than 2042, when those born in 1977 will start retiring, aged 67 years..

The second process is a continuous increase in the retirement age for each generation born. An unlimited increase of the retirement age was adopted by the Chamber of Deputies in 2011. The retirement age is thus postponed for each age group with the same year of birth, namely by two months when compared to the previous age group. However, both employers and trade unions are critical of the unlimited increase of the retirement age.

On 5 September 2016, the Czech government approved the capping of the retirement age at a maximum of 65 years. This measure will positively affect those born after 1965, who would otherwise have retired at a higher age.

Pay

Pay

Pay: For workers, the reward for work and main source of income; for employers, a cost of production and focus of bargaining and legislation. This section looks into minimum wage setting in the Czech Republic and guides the reader to further material on collective wage bargaining.

Minimum wages

Minimum wages in the Czech Republic are determined by Governmental Order No. 567/2006 Coll. as a statutory minimum wage. A minimum wage was introduced into the Czech labour system in 1991 and is governed by Article 111 of Act No. 262/2006 Coll. Labour Code.

The mechanism for determining the minimum wage is set out in the law on employment, which plays the most important role in terms of determining the minimum wage for the government. Although the Council for Economic and Social Agreement of the Czech Republic (the tripartite) provides social partners with a forum for the presentation of their views on the mechanism for determining the minimum wage, this issue is primarily influenced by the government.

An increase in minimum wage usually results from tripartite negotiations between the main social partners and the government. However, there is no mechanism that would ensure a regular revaluation of the minimum wage and this depends on the political programmes of individual governments. Thus, minimum wages can be frozen in some periods, as was the case between 2007 and July 2013.

In the private sector the minimum wage can be increased by collective agreements. Since the collective bargaining coverage is relatively low in the Czech Republic, Article 112 of the Labour Code further determines eight levels of so-called guaranteed wage. The levels thereof are set down by the government and are differentiated on the basis of the complexity and difficulty of work. The guaranteed wage applies to those employees and employers who do not participate in wage collective bargaining and to public employees.

Governmental Order No. 567/2006 Coll. stipulated the lower levels of both the minimum and guaranteed wages for workers with limited capacity to work until the end of 2016. However, the different levels of the minimum and guaranteed wage have been cancelled as of 1 January 2017 so that the same minimum wage levels apply to all employees at present.

For more information regarding the level and development of minimum wages, please see Eurofound’s topical update on statutory minimum wage in the EU 2017 or visit Eurostat.

Collectively agreed pay outcomes

For more detailed information on the most recent outcomes in terms of collectively agreed pay, please consult Eurofound’s collectively wage bargaining portal.

Working time

Working time

Working time: ‘Any period during which the worker is working, at the employer’s disposal and carrying out his activities or duties, in accordance with national laws and/or practice’ (Directive 2003/88/EC). This section briefly summarises regulation and issues regarding working time, overtime, part-time work as well as working time flexibility in the Czech Republic.

Working time regulation

Czech labour legislation stipulates the statutory maximum normal weekly and daily working time in the Labour Code. Article 79 prescribes that the normal weekly working hours might not exceed 40 hours and stipulates shorter normal working hours for specific categories of workers with heavy working conditions. Articles 83, 85(3) and 79a of the Labour Code further determine the statutory maximum normal working day, which must not exceed 12 hours (eight hours in the case of minors), except for workers in transport listed in Article 100.

Standard weekly working time may be shortened without a concurrent reduction of wage only in collective agreements or internal regulations in the private sector. In the public sector the reduction of standard weekly hours is not allowed.

For more detailed information on working time (including annual leave, statutory and collectively agreed working time), please consult Eurofound’s report on Working time developments in the 21st century: Work duration and its regulation.

Overtime regulation

Overtime work, which is defined by the Czech Labour Code as work that exceeds standard weekly working hours following from the predetermined schedule of working hours and beyond the pattern of shifts, is regulated by Article 93 of the Labour Code. It stipulates that overtime must not exceed eight hours a week or 150 hours a year, and total overtime work (including ordered and individually agreed overtime) on average must not exceed 8 hours a week within a compensatory period of 26 successive weeks, unless a collective agreement extends this period to the maximum of 52 successive weeks. However, those overtimes for which the employee was given a leave of absence are not counted to the total number of overtime hours, neither regarded as overtime. Part-timers may not be ordered to work overtime.

Article 114 of the Labour Code says that an employee is entitled to his/her standard hourly wage supplemented by a premium of at least 25% of his/her average hourly earnings for every overtime hour (if the overtime has not been compensated by a leave of absence). However, where wage is agreed that takes into account potential overtime work, the employee is not entitled to any additional pay or compensatory time off for overtime. Such a wage may be agreed provided that overtime hours are within the scope of 150 hours in one calendar year and, in the case of managerial employees, that their overtime hours are within the limits of eight hours a week on average within the compensatory period.

Collective agreements may contain an extension of the compensatory period up to 52 successive weeks; additionally, they often include an increase in premiums for overtime work.

Part-time work

Part-time work is defined by Article 80 of the Czech Labour Code as working hours below the standard weekly working hours, for which the employee is paid a wage or salary reduced proportionally to the reduction of the standard working hours. Part-time work can be agreed only between the employer and the employee in the individual contract.

The percentage of employees working part time is relatively low in the Czech Republic. According to Eurostat, in 2016 part-timers aged 20 to 64 years made up 5.6% of total employment. In the same period only 2.2% of men in the Czech Republic worked part-time. When compared to the EU28 average, part-time work was used by just 9.8% of women, but in the EU28 average the share reached 31.4%. The reasons for this can be seen in the general low wage level in the Czech Republic. Thus, the majority of workers are not incentivised to take up part-time work (with the exception of mothers of pre-school children). It is still necessary for most families to have the full income of both parents to be able to secure a decent living standard for their family. Research indicates that majority of mothers of older pre-school children and school children would like to work full-time (Paloncyová et al., 2014). On the other hand, mothers of younger pre-school children who would prefer to work part time would benefit from a more friendly and flexible approach from the employers’ side.

Persons employed part-time in the Czech Republic and EU28 (% of total employment)

 

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Total - EU28

18.2

18.6

19.0

19.0

19.0

18.9

Total - CZ

4.6

4.9

5.7

5.4

5.2

5.6

Women - EU28

31.0

31.4

31.8

31.7

31.5

31.4

Women - CZ

8.4

8.5

10.0

9.4

9.2

9.8

Men - EU28

7.4

7.7

8.1

8.2

8.2

8.2

Men - CZ

1.8

2.1

2.4

2.4

2.1

2.2

Source: Eurostat Labour Force Survey [lfsi_pt_a] – Persons employed part-time (20 to 64 years of age) – total and by sex.

Night work

Night work is defined by the Czech Labour Code as work performed during night time, i.e. between 22.00. and 06.00. and a night worker is understood as an employee working on average no less than three hours of his/her working time during night time within 24 consecutive hours at least once a week within a period of 26 consecutive weeks.

Article 94 of the Labour Code stipulates that the length of a shift of an employee working at night may not exceed 8 hours within 24 consecutive hours and where it is not feasible for operational reasons, the average length of a shift should not exceed 8 hours within a maximum period of 26 consecutive weeks.

In the case of night workers, the employer is obliged to ensure appropriate medical examinations for the employees before and during the performance of the job that includes night work, appropriate social conditions such as the possibility to have refreshments, and first aid remedies at the workplace.

Shift work

In Czech legislation, a shift means a part of weekly working hours without overtime, for which an employee is obliged to perform work for the employer according to a predetermined shift schedule (pattern). Article 78 of the Labour Code further distinguishes two-shift, three-shift and continuous patterns of shift work as special cases of shift work, for which the statutory working week is shorter (maximum 38.75 weekly hours for employees in the two-shift pattern and maximum 37.5 weekly hours for employees in the three-shift or continuous patterns of shift work).

Weekend work

Czech legislation defines and sets only ‘non-working days’ that are understood as days on which an employee’s uninterrupted weekly rest falls during the week and public holidays. Weekend work is not specified by the Czech legislation. However, article 118 of the Labour Code guarantees a premium of at least 10% of the average earnings besides the attained wage for hours worked on Saturday and/or Sunday. In public services and administration, the minimum premium amounts to 25% of the average salary (article 126 of the Labour Code).

Rest and breaks

Rest period is defined by the Czech Labour Code as a period outside working hours. Article 88 of the Labour Code provides for a rest break after a maximum of six working hours of continuous work (after 4.5 hours in the case of juvenile workers). This break should not be shorter than 30 minutes or – if it is divided in several parts – one of the parts of the rest break should not be shorter than 15 minutes. Rest breaks are not counting towards working hours. In the case that the work cannot be interrupted, employees have to be provided with appropriate time for rest and food even without interruption of the operation or work. The time for rest is then considered as working time. This does not concern juvenile workers who have to be provided with a rest break as indicated above. Rest breaks are not provided in the beginning and in the end of the working hours. Statutory safety breaks are considered as working hours.

The minimum daily rest period is of 11 consecutive hours a day (12 hours in the case of juvenile workers), which can, however, be reduced to employees aged over 18 to the minimum of eight hours in specific situations (continuous operation, unevenly scheduled working hours, overtime work; agriculture; public services such as public catering, cultural establishments, telecommunications, postal services, and health- and social-care facilities; urgent reparations aiming at avoiding a danger; natural disasters and other extraordinary cases). However, the subsequent daily rest period has to be extended correspondingly. In the case of seasonal work in agriculture, the compensation might be provided within three weeks subsequent to the reduction (Article 90 of the Labour Code).

Article 92 further stipulates that the minimum weekly rest period is of 35 hours and in the case of juveniles 48 hours. When it is possible with regard to the operation, the weekly rest period should be set to all employees for the same day and it should include Sunday. In specific situations listed in the context of the minimum daily rest period and at technological processes which cannot be interrupted it is possible to reduce weekly rest period of workers aged over 18 to 24 hours, but weekly rest breaks have to amount to 70 hours over two consecutive weeks. Specific allocation of weekly rest breaks might be agreed in agriculture, where it can amount to 105 hours in three weeks or 210 hours in six weeks.

Working time flexibility

A flexible working hours scheme is provided for in Article 85 of the Labour Code and defined as working hours that consist of bands of core time and flexi-time. The beginning and the end of these time bands are determined by the employer. An employee is obliged to be at his/her workplace during the determined core working hours, whereas for the flexible working hours s/he can choose the start and the end of the working time. Daily working hours should not exceed the statutory maximum working day. Where a flexible working hours scheme is used, the average weekly working hours must be complied with within a settlement period that is fixed by the employer (a day or a week) and within no longer than 26 weeks, unless a collective agreement prolongs this period up to 52 weeks. Flexible working hours do not have to apply to all employees within a workplace; the employer can decide to which (categories of) employees flexible working hours will be offered.

The application of flexible working hours can be agreed both in individual contracts and collective agreements.

The proportion of employees with flexitime can be evaluated on the basis of the large representative survey ‘Transformations in the quality of working life’ (2014). According to these data, only 20% of employees make use of flexitime (Svobodová et. al., 2015).

Do you have fixed start and finishing time in your work?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Czech Republic and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have fixed starting and finishing times in your work?'. For the 'No' answer, Czech Republic's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Czech Republic's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 39d from the sixth "European Working Conditions Survey (2015)The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: European Working conditions survey 2015.

Health and well-being

Health and well-being

Maintaining health and well-being should be a high priority for workers and employers alike. Health is an asset closely associated with a person’s quality of life and longevity, as well as their ability to work. A healthy economy depends on a healthy workforce: organisations can experience loss of productivity through the ill-health of their workers. This section looks into psychosocial risks and health and safety in the Czech Republic.

Health and safety at work

During 2014-2015, a previously positive trend in figures relating to work accidents ended and a slightly negative turn can be observed. The total annual number of working days lost through accidents at work has increased in the last two years after five years of continuous decline between 2008 and 2013 (see national statistics provided by Occupational Safety Research Institute (Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce, VÚBP).

The number of work accidents causing incapacity for work related to the number of persons insured that has fallen steadily until the year 2013 went also up in years 2014 and 2015. In 2015, there was an evidence of 46,331 of accidents at work with subsequent incapacity for work. In addition, in 2015 average duration of one case of incapacity for work caused by a workplace accident approached very closely its ten-year maximum (55.4 days). In 2015, there were 132 fatal work accidents, which is also higher than previous year.

Accidents at work, with four days’ absence or more

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

All accidents

89,549

58,100

56,875

37,036

36,013

38,015

36,622

Percent change on previous year

n/a

-35.1

-2.1

-34.9

-2.8

5.6

-3.7

Per 1,000 employees

21.4

14.2

14.2

9.3

9.0

9.4

9.0

Source: Eurostat, [hsw_mi01] and [lfsa_eegaed]

Time series of work accidents indicators in the Czech Republic 2002–2015

 

Number of accidents at work with incapacity for work

Working days lost

Number of accidents at work with incapacity for work per 100 insured

Average duration of one case of incapacity for work due to accident at work

2002

90,867

3,788,076

2.03

41.69

2003

83,019

3,599,340

1.87

43.36

2004

81,688

3,565,634

1.86

43.65

2005

82,042

3,702,310

1.85

45.13

2006

82,296

3,766,313

1.83

45.77

2007

77,233

3,600,581

1.68

46.62

2008

71,281

3,548,355

1.58

49.78

2009

50,173

2,767,757

1.18

55.16

2010

51,678

2,692,547

1.20

52.10

2011

47,111

2,592,537

1.12

55.03

2012

44,108

2,423,425

0.99

54.94

2013

42,927

2,391,689

0.97

55.72

2014

45,058

2,446,635

1.01

54.30

2015

46,331

2,568,798

1.03

55.44

Source: SÚIP annual reports: Zpráva o pracovní úrazovosti v České republice

Psychosocial risks

National legislation seeks to prevent mental health risks for employees by requiring employers to inform employees as to what category their job comes under from the point of view of factors injurious to health. The detailed conditions of the categorisation of work are set out by Decree of the Ministry of Health No. 432/2003. Mental stress factors are clearly defined by this legislation (definition includes e.g. monotonous work, work in a forced pace, work in night shifts only, work in three shifts or continuous operation).

Despite the fact that psychosocial stress connected to work performance is somehow reflected by the legislation, it doesn´t bring any special advantages to the staff at risk. The law (Government regulation 567/2006 Coll.) does not include psychosocial stress among the influences that make performance of the work more difficult and thus define difficult working environment for the legal obligation to provide extra pay for work in difficult working conditions. If, however, the position falls under the high-risk categories in terms of mental strain, the employer is obliged to report this fact to the relevant body of public health protection and ensure the relevant frequency of medical examinations.

Sexual harassment and mobbing/bossing at the workplace can be considered as an extreme form of psychosocial stress. The notion of harassment was implemented in Czech legislation in 2004 in order to harmonise it with the community acquis. In accordance with Directive 2002/73/EC, harassment, sexual harassment and persecution have been defined as specific forms of discrimination. The Czech Republic has a specific law, Act No. 198/2009 Coll. on equal treatment and legal provisions protecting against discrimination (‘Antidiscriminatory Act’) (in Czech), which elaborates discrimination and related issues in more detail and stipulates means of protection against discrimination. Violence-related legislation is pertinent to the infliction of harm and consequences set forth in the civil, administrative and criminal (penal) standards.

Legislative protection against mobbing/bossing is ensured by the Act No. 198/2009 Coll. on equal treatment and legal provisions protecting against discrimination (‘Antidiscriminatory Act’).

Overall, there appears to have been a slight decrease in psychosocial stress at work in the Czech Republic when taking into account data from the last three waves of the EWCS. Working long hours is typical for the Czech working environment, in particular for men. According to the EWCS, men in the Czech Republic – together with Scandinavians and men from Netherlands and Ireland – one of the highest shares of people working more than 10 hours a day once or more per month. The most recent figures show that 48% of men report this in the Czech Republic (EWCS, 2015). The working to tight deadlines indicator improved significantly between 2010 and 2015: in 2015, 55 % of people were working at least a quarter of the time to tight deadlines, compared to 63% in 2010. The percentage of people that have been subjected to discrimination at work over the past 12 months has been continuously decreasing in the last ten years. Whereas in 2005 the figure reached 9.1%, in 2010 it was just 7.1% and five years later the figure decreased by another one percentage point.

Work intensity: Do you have enough time to get the job done?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Czech Republic and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Do you have enough time to get the job done?'. For the 'Always or most of the time' answer, Czech Republic's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Rarely or never' answer, Czech Republic's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Sometimes' answer, Czech Republic's score is higher than the European Union score. Data is based on question 61g from the sixth European Working Conditions Survey (2015). The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015.

More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working conditions survey.

Skills, learning and employability

Skills, learning and employability

Skills are the passport to employment; the better skilled an individual, the more employable they are. Good skills also tend to secure better-quality jobs and better earnings. This section briefly summarises the Czech Republic system for ensuring skills and employability and looks into the extent of training.

National system for ensuring skills and employability

In the Czech Republic, the validation and recognition of skills are regulated by Act No. 179/2006 Coll. on recognition of further education results. Recognised skills are based on the National Register of Qualifications (Národní soustava kvalifikací, NSK) which lists all complete professional and vocational qualifications that are nationally recognised and validated in the Czech Republic. It defines necessary skills for individual vocational qualifications and describes the scope of activities that the respective qualification includes. The NSK is comparable with national registers in other European countries and relates to the National Register of Professions (Národní soustava povolání, NSP), operated by MoLSA, that provides information on the scope of activities, necessary skills and qualifications for individual professions.

The system of validation and recognition of qualifications falls within the authority of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MEYS, MŠMT ČR) which coordinates the whole system and the NSK, approves qualifications, and awards authorisations to agencies that are subsequently entitled to organise exams and award certificates.

MEYS has an advisory body, the National Council for Qualifications (Národní rada pro kvalifikace), that discusses the preparation and practical application of the NSK. It is composed of representatives of several ministries (including MoLSA and MEYS), social partners, education or training providers, and other subjects (such as the Labour Office of the Czech Republic). Hence, social partners are involved in ensuring skills and employability via this platform.

To ensure future employability, the need for a more intensive intersection between academia and practice has been discussed frequently at both institutional and governmental level (within tripartite body, within working groups with different stakeholders presence, at governmental level, etc.). The issue is considered to be more important in light of the upcoming era of advanced digitalisation in all economic sectors. An important step to make a dual education system (a closer link between academia and business sphere) more effective was taken in October 2016 when the agreement between representatives of the main employers’ organisations the SP ČR, the HK ČR, the Confederation of Employers’ and Entrepreneurs’ Associations of the Czech Republic (KZPS) and the Czech Agrarian Chamber (Agrární komora ČR) was signed. The agreement defined splitting the responsibility of employers’ organisations for different groups of vocational education disciplines taught at secondary schools.

Training

Training is primarily regulated by the MoLSA in cooperation with MEYS. The ministries determine priorities and coordinate a number of programmes that aim to develop training and skills and that are funded from the European Social Fund (ESF). An example is the Promotion of Employee Vocational Training (Podpora odborného vzdělávání zaměstnanců). Some programmes are administered by subsidised organisations of MoLSA and MEYS and non-governmental non-profit organisations, in particular:

  • The Further Training Fund (Fond dalšího vzdělávání, FDV) is a subsidised organisation of MoLSA, which provides further training for individuals, counselling and informing in the area of training, and participates in the development of the National Register of Professions;
  • National Institute for Training (Národní ústav pro vzdělávání, NÚV) and National Institute for Further Education (Národní institut pro další vzdělávání, NIDV; NIFE) are subsidised organisations of MEYS that focus on further training of teachers and pedagogical staff and development of their teaching competencies;
  • National Training Fund (Národní vzdělávací fond, NVF; NTF) is a non-profit organisation which aims to promote the development and restructuring of human resources in accordance with the requirements of economic and social reforms in the Czech Republic.

Training: Have you had any on the job training in the past year?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Czech Republic and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Have you had on-the-job training in the last 12 months?'. For the 'No' answer, Czech Republic's score is lower than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Czech Republic's score is higher than the European Union score. Data is based on question 65c from the sixth "European Working Conditions Survey (2015).The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015.

More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working conditions survey.

Work organisation

Work organisation

Work organisation underpins economic and business development and has important consequences for productivity, innovation and working conditions. Eurofound research finds that some types of work organisation are associated with a better quality of work and employment. Therefore, developing or introducing different forms of work organisation are of particular interest because of the expected effect on productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of companies, as well as on workers’ working conditions. Ongoing research by Eurofound, based on EurWORK, the European Working Conditions Survey and the European Company Survey, monitors developments in work organisation.

For the Czech Republic, the European Company Survey 2013 shows that between 2010 and 2013 27% of establishments with 10 or more employees reported changes in the use of technology, 21% introduced changes in ways to coordinate and allocate the work to workers and another 11% saw changes in their working time arrangements. No other national up-to-date surveys of work organisation are available, except surveys organised by employers’ associations oriented towards the use of digital technologies. However, samples of such surveys are based on association members willing to reply.

The pace of progress with regard to the level of digitalisation was also mapped in a study by Ernst and Young entitled ‘Industry 4.0 from the perspective of Czech experience’ based on surveying 64 large and prominent industrial manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic. A third of these firms have experience with the implementation of specific Industry 4.0 technologies and tools. Moreover, just under 60% of all the companies surveyed planned to invest in these technologies within the next three years. More than half of the businesses surveyed indicated that the biggest obstacle to the implementation of Industry 4.0 consists of a shortage of qualified personnel. The survey showed that 15% of companies had not implemented any measures, nor did they plan to do so in the future.

All stakeholders take changes in the labour market with respect to onset of advanced digital technologies as a challenge that should not be neglected.

Work organisation: Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?

In the figure, we see a comparison between Czech Republic and European Union for the workers with 'Age : All' when asked 'Are you able to choose or change your methods of work?'. For the 'No' answer, Czech Republic's score is higher than the European Union score. For the 'Yes' answer, Czech Republic's score is lower than the European Union score. Data is based on question 54b from the sixth "European Working Conditions Survey (2015).The National comparisons visualisation presents a comparative overview for the values of all answers between two selected countries.

Source: Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey 2015.

More detailed figures are available from Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey.

The autonomy of Czech workers with regard to methods of work is lower compared to the EU. While 69 % of workers in the EU are able to choose or change their methods of work on average, in the Czech Republic the share of those with such ability is lower by 14 p.p. (See figure above).  

Equality and non-discrimination at work

Equality and non-discrimination at work

Equality and non-discrimination at work are ensured in particular by Act No. 198/2009 Coll. on equal treatment and legal provisions protecting against discrimination (‘Antidiscriminatory Act’), which implements relevant European legislation into Czech legal framework, defines different forms of unequal treatment and discrimination, and stipulates rules of equal treatment and protective legal remedies against discrimination.

Equal treatment of employees and prohibition of their discrimination in working conditions, remuneration for work, vocational training and opportunities for career advancement is further guaranteed by the Labour Code.

Additionally, equality in application of the right to employment is ensured by Act No. 435/2004 Coll. on employment, which explicitly charges unemployment offices with the implementation of measures to ensure equal treatment in access to employment, requalification, preparation for work, specialised training and other measures.

The issue of equality and non-discrimination at work falls within the authority of MoLSA. For example, gender equality is listed among the main responsibilities of the Ministry. Labour inspectorates can perform controls related to equality and discrimination at work. Labour offices are further in charge of assuring equal access to employment for all categories of workers and jobseekers. Where anti-discriminatory legislation is not complied with, the employee can appeal to a court or to the Public Defender of Rights (Ombudsman) who promotes the right to equal treatment and protection against discrimination.

Equal pay and gender pay gap

The basic legislative provision securing equal pay for equally performed work can be found primarily in the Labour Code (Act No. 262/2006). Article 110(1) specifies that all employees of an employer are entitled to an equal salary, wage or contractual remuneration for equal work or for work of equal value.

Equal treatment in remuneration is further provided for by the Act No. 198/2009 on equal treatment and the legal provisions protecting against discrimination (‘Anti-Discriminatory Act’). Specifically, Article 1(c) defines the right to equal treatment and the ban on discrimination in matters of employment, service relations and other gainful occupation, including remuneration. For the purposes of this law, remuneration means all monetary payments or non-monetary benefits, recurring or one-time, that are directly or indirectly provided to the person in gainful employment.

According to Eurostat, in 2014 the gender pay gap (in an unadjusted form) was 22.5%, falling from 26.2% in 2008. Except for the period 2008–2009 when the gap widened slightly, it has remained at about 22% over the last 10 years in the Czech Republic.

In the Czech Republic, the figure of GPG is one of the highest within the EU countries. High level of gender pay gap reflects the relatively prolonged caring role of Czech women.

A gender pay gap analysis is regularly published by theCzech Statistical Office (Český statistický úřad, ČSÚ). However, ČSÚ uses their own definition of the gender pay gap – instead of a mean average for the wages of men and women, they use a median calculation. The ČSÚ argues that the median is a better indicator of the pay level because the arithmetic mean can be easily distorted by extreme values. ČSÚ also bases its calculations on gross monthly pay, not hourly pay. In recent years the GPG figure calculated by ČSÚ has stagnated and oscillated between 15.5% and 16.2%.

Continued interest in the topic of the GPG is apparent among research institutions such as The Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, private institutions offering HR services Trexima (as a part of the ISPP monitoring) and NGO Gender Studies (publication activities in its journal Rovné příležitosti do firem – ‘Equal opportunities’). Moreover, the Czech government has recently introduced a number of initiatives aimed at narrowing the gender pay gap. In 2016, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs launched a five-year project called ‘22% to fairness’ (22% being the average gender pay gap in the Czech Republic). The most frequently discussed and visible part of the project consists of:

  1. Systematic inspections specifically focused on screening and pay discrimination. Specially-trained State Labour Inspectorate experts will be responsible for conducting salary inspections.
  2. Development of a digital auditing tool for employers to detect gender pay differences in companies objectively.
  3. Manual for employees on how to negotiate a wage increase.
  4. Information campaign.
  5. Public opinion surveys and good practice examples.

Quota regulations

There are no specific regulations regarding men/women quotas in the Czech Republic.

According to Article 81(1) of the Employment Act, employers with more than 25 employees who have an employment contract are obliged to make sure at least 4% of their staff are people with disabilities.

Bibliography

Bibliography

Bělina, M. et al. (2014) Pracovní právo [Labour legislation]. C. H. Beck, Prague.

ČMKOS, (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) Report on the progress of collective bargaining at a higher (sectoral) level and company level. ČMKOS, Prague.

Dandová, E. (2013) Novela zákoníku práce [Amendment to the Labour Code]. Právo pro podnikání a zaměstnání, Vol. 4, pp.17–21.

Eurofound (2013) Czech Republic: Industrial relations profile (online), Dublin.

Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí [Ministry of labour and social affairs] (MoLSA), Kolektivní smlouvy vyššího stupně uložené na MPSV od 1.1.2007 [High level collective agreements deposited on the MoLSA since 1. 1. 2007], web page, accessed 30 October 2015.

Paloncyová, J., Barvíková, J., Kuchařová, V., Peychlová, K. (2014), Nové formy denní péče o děti v České republice [New forms of child day care in the Czech Republic], Research institute for Labour and Social Affairs, Prague. Available at http://praha.vupsv.cz/Fulltext/vz_381.pdf.

Svobodová, L., Mlezivová, I., Vinopal, J., Červenka, J. (2015) Proměny kvality pracovního života [Transformations in quality of working life],Výzkumný ústav bezpečnosti práce, Praha- Available on-line at: http://projekty.vubp.cz/kvalita-pracovniho-zivota/publikace_promeny-kpz.pdf

Velecká, H. (2007) Country example - The Czech Republic: Promoting life-long learning – system of recognition of qualifications. National system of qualifications, presentation to a European Commission internal workshop, June 2007.

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