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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure SK-2020-14/302 Updated – measures in Slovakia

New rules for teleworking

Výkon práce z domácnosti zamestnanca

Country Slovakia , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 04 April 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Teleworking arrangements, remote working
Author Miroslava Kordosova (IVPR) and Eurofound
Measure added 06 April 2020 (updated 20 October 2021)

Background information

The measure, that amends rules formerly introduced in the legal framework, is aimed to isolate more staff and not to reduce activity businesses and other organisations during the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This result is reached simplifying the rules to adopt work-from-home-based schemes.

The measure was adopted by the Act No. 66/2020 Coll., amending the Act No. 311/2001 Coll. on the Labour Code and supplementing some laws at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 250b of the Act specifies the possibility of an employer to order the employees to work from home upon defined circumstances.

Content of measure

According to this measure, the employer and the employee can enter into the work-from-home scheme on the basis of a mutual agreement. The place of remote working must be specified by the parties, while the rules concerning working conditions, health and safety and working hours remain unchanged also while the work-from-home scheme is active.

Additionally, while the worker is operating from home, the employment relationship is not subject to the provisions on the schedule of weekly working hours, daily and weekly rest and the idle-time. No wage supplements are paid to the employee for the overtime and night work and for working on Saturdays and Sundays, unless the employee and the employer agree otherwise.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

26 April 2021

The amendment to the Labour Code of March 2021 brought several changes concerning homework and teleworking. Compared to the previous legislation, the condition of regularity has been added to the definition of homework and teleworking. It will be homework and telework only if this work is performed regularly from the employee's household. Another new condition is that it must be possible to perform this work at the employer's workplace.

The aim of this condition is to prevent homework and teleworking from including, for example, work performed as part of a business trip, work performed on the premises of the employer's customers and the like. Working time for housework and teleworking has also undergone several changes. According to the new legislation, the employer will primarily schedule working hours for homework and teleworking. The employer and the employee will also be able to agree that the employee will schedule his or her own working hours throughout the week. Furthermore, the employer is obliged to reimburse the demonstrably increased expenses associated with their use for homework and teleworking.

If the employee is to use his own resources for homework and teleworking, there must be an agreement on this and the employment contract must state the conditions for providing compensation for their use. Since 1 March 2021, new rules for teleworking are effective and instead of temporary measure became open ended.

Use of measure

The measure concerns a large number of non-essential organisations, schools, institutions where there is no risk of production suspension and the supply of raw materials, materials, food, energy is not jeopardised.

There are no concrete figures available on the total number of employees who used the homework since mid-March till now. Nevertheless, according to the available information, most of the concerned employees were satisfied with the possibility to use it. For instance, almost 80% of employees worked via home office in VSE Holding company, see case SK-2020-18/1476 . Some employers consider the option to use homework also after the corona crisis.

According to the survey conducted by Profesia.sk and Open HR Forum in August 2021, 28% of respondents were fully and 26% were partly on homeworking during the pandemic. Initially, they were satisfied, but after the pandemic only 8% of respondents would prefer homeworking, 54% of them prefer combination of homeworking with working in their companies and 38% prefer working only in companies. Preferences differ by the age of workers and regions.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level

Involvement

According to the peak organisations of employers AZZZ SR, APZ and KOZ SR, social partners were not involved via usual tripartite consultations nor in the cross-sector commenting procedure. Some social partners, e.g. KOZ SR, tried to be involved and provided comments informally via media or exceptionally through individual consultation with representatives of the respective state administration body, particularly with the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family.

Views and reactions

According to the available information, the social partners had no comments on the implementation of the measure. In addition, the measure was not discussed in the tripartite social dialogue at the Economic and Social Council.

Trade unions as well as organisation of organisations of employers supported the changes in the Labour Code allowing a wider use of homework in organisations affected by the consequences of the corona crisis. Because of the absence of standards forms of involvement, the KOZ SR found non-standard ways to comment the measure and succeeded in abolishing the proposed changes concerning the overtime in homework. According to the KOZ SR, standard consultations on the proposed measures with the social partners would increase their efficiency.

Sources

  • 02 April 2020: Zakon c. 66/2020 (www.slov-lex.sk)
  • 10 April 2021: 76 ACT of 1 March 2021 amending and supplementing Act no. 311/2001 Labor Code, as amended, and amending and supplementing certain act (Zákonník práce) (www.slov-lex.sk)
  • 23 September 2021: Prieskum o práci doma (firma.profesia.sk)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), New rules for teleworking, measure SK-2020-14/302 (measures in Slovakia), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/SK-2020-14_302.html

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