18.05.2023 Labour law

[Czech Republic] Obstacles at work

When an employee and an employer enter into an employment relationship, the employer has many obligations arising from this act. However, signing an employment contract also creates certain obligations for the employee. Probably the most important one is that the employee must perform work for the employer on predetermined dates and at predetermined times. De facto, this means that by signing an employment contract, the employee gives up part of his or her free time and undertakes to subject this time to the needs of his or her employer under the given conditions.

However, as members of modern society, we have come to realize that there are objective reasons why the work to which we have contractually committed ourselves cannot be done. We call these reasons “impediments to work” and in this article, we will look at selected highlights of some of them.

First, let’s note that the obstacles can be on the employee’s side (these will also be much more common), but also on the employer’s side. As mentioned in the introduction, when an employee signs an employment contract, he or she becomes obliged to perform work for the employer. However, on the other hand, the employer also has an obligation to assign work to the employee. Again, there may be objective reasons why it is not possible to assign work to the employee and therefore there may be obstacles on the employer’s side.

For obstacles on the part of the employee, the employee must also prove them to the employer.

Temporary incapacity for work

Temporary incapacity for work (TIL) is a physical or mental disability that prevents an employee from doing his or her job. It is also one of the most common impediments on the part of the employee. The assessment of sickness absence is the responsibility of the attending physician, who sends a notification to the CSSA about the onset, continuation, and termination of the illness. The employer is informed of the employee’s illness by means of electronic access. The employee is obliged to comply with the regime measures (e.g., staying at the specified address at the specified time).

During the first 14 days of sick leave, the employee is entitled to wage compensation from the employer in the amount of 60% of the average earnings, but these average earnings are reduced in a similar way to the sickness benefits paid by the CSSA from the 15th day of sick leave. Employees usually receive 60 % of their net pay, but this percentage decreases as the employee’s pay rises since the average earnings on which the 60 % is calculated are reduced by means of so-called reduction thresholds which gradually limit the amount of compensation. The employer can provide more compensation than the law requires, but he has to keep 2 things in mind. The first is that the compensation cannot exceed the (unreduced) average earnings, and the second is that the amount exceeding the legal minimum is subject to taxation and health and social security contributions on the part of the employee.

Finally, it should be remembered that if an employee breaches his or her duties in a particularly egregious manner, the employer may dismiss the employee. The employer is also entitled to reduce the statutory wage compensation or not to pay it at all in the event of a breach of the employee’s obligations.

Nursing a child or other person

This is where the employee must care for another person who is ill. This will most often be a child under the age of 10, as a nursing note issued by the treating doctor for this child automatically entitles the parent to time off work and sickness insurance benefits.

However, other persons can also be nursed. In such cases, the employer is only obliged to excuse the absence of the employee if the health of the person being treated so requires it. Some persons receiving treatment are required to live in the same household as the employee. Cohabitation is not required for direct line relationships, i.e. parent-child, grandparent-grandchild, etc. It is also not required between spouses, registered partners, siblings, parents of a spouse, or parents of a registered partner. For other persons, a joint household is required.

It follows from the above that it is theoretically possible to draw sick pay (and the employer is obliged to excuse the absence in this case) even for a flatmate who is not related to me in any way if his/her health condition necessarily requires it. It is also interesting to note that there is no de facto limit to the length of this barrier. The employer is obliged to excuse the employee’s absence for as long as the sick pay is required, regardless of whether the employee is entitled to sick pay, which is normally paid for 9 days. Thus, the employee has the right to be excused for up to two months but must expect to be financially unavailable for most of that time.

The continuation of this article will be on the topic of Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, and Parental Leave.

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