Employment conditions and Work permits

Working in Europe | Work permit | Czech Republic

Who has the right to work in the Czech Republic?

Citizens of EU/EEA member states, their family members, as well as foreign nationals with permanent residence and asylum seekers, have the right to work in the Czech Republic without a work permit. These people have the same legal standing regarding employment as Czech citizens, and therefore are unlimited in the work they can do, with the exception of a very few positions that require Czech citizenship by law. Family members of EU citizens who are not themselves EU citizens may work without a work permit only once they have obtained a residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen from the Ministry of the Interior.

Third country nationals who have long term residence permits for the purpose of research ("scientific permit") may work without a separate work permit. Their family members who are resident in the Czech Republic for the purpose of "family reunification" also do not require a work permit and can take up any job.

In most other cases, as a foreigner you must obtain a work permit (employment card or blue card) in order to be entitled to work in the Czech Republic.

The law relating to employment and permission to work is the "zákoník práce". no. 262/2006 Coll. Act no. 435/2004 Coll., on employment, is also relevant to foreigners' right to work. 

Work permits are issued by the Labour Office and applicants may start work the day their work permit is issued.

Employment conditions

The standard working week in the Czech Republic is regulated by law at 40 hours a week (42.5 hours including a half hour break for lunch each day) and is usually divided into five working days of eight hours (8.5 with lunch) each. The lunch break does not count as working time. Larger companies  tend to have so-called "collective contracts" in place which set out their particular employment conditions (e.g. working hours, overtime pay, entitlement to time off in lieu, holiday pay, extra pension funds, etc.).

Some employers enable their employees to work on flexi time. This means that their working hours are divided into core (fixed) and flexible parts. The core hours are set by the employer and the hours worked in the flexible section of the day are up to the employer. The core and flexible hours worked must add up to the employee's standard working time. The rules for core and flexible hours are usually set out in writing in the employer's guidelines.

It is also possible to be employed on a part-time contract, with shorter working hours. In this case the hours are set in the contract between the employer and the employee.

Employment contracts

Any relationship between an employer and an employee should be governed by an employment contract, which must legally fulfil certain criteria regarding its format and contents. It must be in written form, and in addition to details of the employer and employee and their signutures, it must include the type of work the employee is to carry out, the place or places where the work is to be done, and the date the work is to begin. The contract may include a probationary period, which can last a maximum of three months.

Types of employment

In the Czech Republic, work for an employer is usually governed by one of three types of contract. These are: pracovní poměr (HPP) – a "classic" employment contract, for full or part-time work, of fixed duration or permanent.

dohoda o pracovní činností (DPČ) – a contract for work that does not exceed 20 hours a week.

dohoda o provedení prace (DPP) – a contract for temporary work which may not exceed 300 years in any calendar year. 

Additionally, an individual who has a trade licence (živnostenský list) may be self-employed and work independently (this is referred to as OSVČ) without the above forms of contract.

Unpaid work can be carried out as voluntary work, which does not require one of the above contracts.

Pay

An employee's wages or salary should be agreed in the employment contract or may be established by the employer's internal regulations or as a separate written agreement. They must be agreed before the employment begins. Wages or salary payments are made on a specific date, usually by bank transfer to the employee's account or in cash.

The minimum wage is the lowest legally permissible wage for an employee. It is regulated by governmental decree no. 567/2006 Coll. on the minimum wage, and is subject to change each year dependent on the economic situation. From 1st January 2016 the minimum wage for an employee working 40 hours per week is  9,900 Kč per month, or 58.70 Kč per hour.

An employment contract will usually state a gross salary or wage. Every employee must deduct from this gross wage their contributions for health insurance (4.5%) and social security (6.5%) and for income tax deposits (15% of the super-gross salary). Once these have been deducted, the remainder is the net salary, which the employee receives.

Holidays

There are three types of holiday in legal terms: annual leave, holiday for days worked and additional holiday. 

Employees are entitled to annual leave as long as they fulfil two criteria: employment throughout the calendar year for the employer in question and at least sixty days actually worked. By law, annual leave lasts at least four weeks. Employers may give their employees an extra week (or more) or some extra days of annual leave (this could be part of the "collective contract" or internal company regulations). Employees are entitled to take two of these weeks in one go. A week of leave is seven consecutive calendar days.

For those who are not entitled to annual leave (because they do not fulfil the minimum criteria above)  there is holiday for days worked. To be entitled to this the employee must have worked for 21 days. For every 21 days worked the employee is entitled to 1/12th of the usual annual leave allowance.

Additional holiday is given to empoyees who work underground, or who carry out especially demanding forms of work.