Under what conditions can my employer fire me / make me redundant?
Employment is usually terminated in one of two ways, either through mutual agreement between the employee and their employer or by notice given by either side. In the case of mutual agreement, a written agreement is drawn up between the employer and the employee, stating the conditions upon which the employment will terminate and the date of the agreed termination. By law, no employer can force any employee to sign such an agreement. Notice is given by only one party: either the employer or employee decides to terminate the employment, without the agreement of the other party. Employers must provide a reason for giving their employee(s) notice of termination and that reason must be one of the permitted reasons for termination as defined by law.
Employment may be terminated:
- by mutual agreement,
- by giving notice,
- with immediate effect,
- within the probation period
- at the end of a fixed-term contract.
If you have an employment contract ("Pracovní smlouva") then the details below apply to you. If your employer has given you a part-time working agreement ("Dohoda o provedení práce" or "Dohoda o pracovní činností") then the rules for termination are different and you do not have the same protection from dismissal. Both of these agreements can be terminated with 15 days notice for any reason. Please ask EURAXESS for advice if you are not sure what rights your contract entitles you to.
A mutual agreement to terminate employment is based on a voluntary, mutual decision on the part of both employer and employee to terminate the employment relationship. In this case, the employment ends on a specific date, as specified in the agreement. There is no fixed template for the written version of the agreement: the content and format of the agreement is up to the two parties. The date on which the agreement is made and the date on which the employment will end must be included, and the parties to the agreement (employer and employee) must be clearly defined. The agreement must be signed by both parties. If the employer requires the agreement to include a reason for the termination, the employee must agree to include this. Providing a precise reason for the termination is particularly important in relation to the strict rules governing unemployment benefits. The agreement must be in written form, otherwise it is not valid, and it must make clear the desire of both parties to end the specific employment relationship, according to sec. 49 par. 1 of the Labour Code (č. 262/2006 Coll.). The agreement is made in two originals, one of which is retained by each party.
Notice must be given in written form (the precise format is specified in the Labour Code) and delivered to the other party, otherwise it is not valid. It is a good idea to obtain confirmation of delivery of the notice, so that its receipt (and thereby validity) cannot be called into question at a later date. Notice may be given either by the employer or by the employee. The notice period is the same in either case and is defined by law as 2 months (except in the case of termination with immediate effect, see below); as long as the legal conditions are fulfilled, the notice of termination is valid without the agreement of the other party. Employees may give notice of termination to their employer for any reason, or without stating any reason. Employers, however, may only give their employees notice for one or more of the specific reasons defined for the purpose in the Labour Code (sec. 52):
a) the employer's undertaking, or part of it, is closing down;
(b) the employer's undertaking, or part of it, is relocating;
(c) changes to tasks, equipment, downsizing or restructuring mean that the job the employee fulfilled is no longer required;
(d) the employee is not permitted (by the public health/occupational medicine certification authorities) to perform their job due to an industrial injury, an occupational disease or the threat of an occupational disease, or because their workplace has been subjected to the maximum permissible level of some harmful exposure.
(e) if the employee has lost the capability to perform their job due to their state of health (for the long term), as certified by the relevant occupational health authority;
(f) if the employee is, through no fault on the employer's side, in breach of the requirements for proper performance of their work and fails to perform the work satisfactorily and the employer has requested in writing within the last 12 months to rectify that failure and the employee has not done so within a reasonable period of time;
(g) if the employee has breached any obligation arising from statutory provisions and relating to their work for the employer, either seriously or, in the case of ongoing but less serious breaches, after being notified by the employer of the breach in writing in the past six months.
This is a simplification of the detailed laws - if you have any questions, please consult EURAXESS or a qualified lawyer.
If the employer gives an employee notice of termination for certain of the reasons given above, the employee is entitled to severance pay. In the case of organizational changes, the employee is entitled to up to 3 times their average monthly salary (depending on how long they have been employed), in the case of health reasons the employee is entitled to at least 12 times their average monthly salary. The employee is entitled to severance pay if the employment is terminated either by notice given by the employer or by mutual agreement with the employer, so long as the reason(s) for termination are stated and include one of those specified in a) through d) above. The law specifies the minimum entitlement to severance pay; this may be increased e.g. by a collective agreement or the employer's internal regulations.
Termination with immediate effect (according to sec. 55 of the Labour Code) is an exceptional measure with immediate legal consequences. This must be enacted in writing and delivered to the other party and must state the specific reason for the immediate termination, which must be unambiguous, otherwise it is not valid. The employer may only terminate an employment relationship with immediate effect if:
(a) the employee has been sentenced for a wilful criminal offence, to a term of unconditional imprisonment of more than one year, with legal effect, or if the employee has been sentenced for a wilful criminal offence committed during performance of their working tasks, or in direct connection therewith, to a term of unconditional imprisonment of at least six months, with legal effect;
(b) if the employee has breached an obligation that arises from statutory provisions and relates to their work performance in an especially gross manner.
An employee may only terminate their employment relationship with immediate effect if:
a) according to a medical certificate issued by the occupational medical services provider or under a ruling of the competent administrative agency having reviewed the medical certificate, the employee cannot perform his job any longer without a serious threat to his health and the employer has not transferred the employee to perform suitable alternative work within 15 days of submitting the aforementioned medical certificate;
(b) the employer has not paid the employee's wage or salary or compensatory wage or compensatory salary or any part of that wage or salary within 15 days of the maturity date [section 141(1)]
Employers are required to consult the relevant trades union(s) prior to giving an employee notice of termination (or termination with immediate effect). Employers may not give employees notice of termination while the employee is: on sick leave, in military service, on long term release for the purpose of serving a public function, pregnant, on maternity leave or on parental leave.
If the employer wishes to retract his/her notice, the employee must agree and the new decision must be issued in writing.
During the probation period (according to section 66 of the Labour Code) an employment relationship may be terminated by either party (employer or employee) for any reason or without stating any reason. However, employers may not terminate an employment relationship with any employee during the first 14 days of their sick leave. Notice of the termination must be delivered in writing to the other party and the employment relationship ends on the date of delivery, unless a later date is specified.
Fixed-term employment relationships terminate (according to section 65 of the Labour Code) at the end of the period agreed in the employment contract, in which both sides agreed that the employment relationship would only last for a specific, contractually defined period. If the period was defined as that necessary for the completion of a particular job, the employer is required to inform the employee when that job is nearing completion, in good time, at least three days prior to the end date. Should the employer fail to do so, they may be required to pay a fine for breaching the conditions of the Labour Code, however the employment relationship will still end at the end of the contractually agreed period.
What happens if I lose my job?
You may register as a job seeker at the Labour Office, although you are not required to do so. If you wish to do so, you must submit an application at your local branch of the Labour Office in the location where you are registered as resident.
EU citizens and their family members are by law entitled to the same benefits as Czech citizens and thus are entitled to job-seekers’ allowance. Non-EU foreigners with permanent residence, as well as those who have been granted asylum or subsidiary protection in the Czech Republic, are also entitled to job-seekers’ allowance. In order to obtain this allowance, the individual must first register as a job seeker at the Labour Office and then submit an application for job-seekers’ allowance; eligibility for the benefit is dependent on having paid Czech state social security (pension) contributions for a period of at least 12 months within the two year period immediately preceding the data on which the application is submitted. Individuals whose employment relationship was terminated for gross breach of duty or who are already receiving a state old age pension are not eligible for this benefit.
During any period when you are registered as a job-seeker, you are counted as contributing to state social security (pension fund), for as long as you are receiving job-seeker’s allowance or for up to three years (even if you are no longer receiving job-seeker’s allowance). During this period the state will also cover your health insurance contributions. If you are unemployed but do not register as a job seeker, you are required to pay your own health insurance contributions.
Non-EU foreigners with long-term residence (but not permanent residence) are not eligible to receive job-seekers’ allowance, may not register as job seekers and cease to participate in the public health insurance system.
If you are in the Czech Republic on the basis of a long-term residence permit for scientific research purposes ("Scientific permit") then if you lose your job that will usually also mean that your hosting agreement is terminated. In this case, the Ministry of the Interior will issue a decision regarding the validity of your long-term residence permit, as part of which it will establish a deadline for you to leave the country and will issue you a Departure Order. You must then leave the Czech Republic within the stated time limit. If you are uncertain about anything, please contact your nearest EURAXESS centre for advice.
If you have a long-term visa based on a work permit and you lose your job for organizational reasons, you may be entitled to stay for a limited amount of time (usually 60 days) to find new work - after which you must apply for a new work permit. However, if you do not find new employment, the Labour Office will inform the Foreign Police and the Foreign Police will terminate your visa/residence permit and set a date by which you must leave the Czech Republic.
Losing your job is a very unpleasant event with financial consequences; to help with this, those who are eligible (see previous paragraph) may apply to receive job-seeker’s allowance (payable from the day the application is submitted). In order to apply for this benefit, you must go to the branch of the Labour Office in the place where you are registered as resident and must complete an application to register as a job seeker and also an application for job-seeker’s allowance.
When you first go to the Labour Office to put in these applications, you will need: a valid ID card or other official document proving your identity and place of residence, a document showing that your employment has been terminated, documents demonstrating any other jobs or paid work you may do (if any), confirmation of termination of sick leave, maternity leave or parental leave (if any), confirmation of your employment earnings (an earnings statement from your employer) and confirmation of your average earnings or your pension contributions statement.
For applicants who are 50 years old or younger, job-seekers’ allowance is paid for a period of 5 months. Between 50 and 55 years of age this increases to 8 months, and above 55 years of age to 11 months.
During the first two months, job-seekers’ allowance usually amounts to 65% of your previous average net monthly salary during your most recent employment or according to your most recent pensions contributions, for the following two months 50 % and for the remainder of the benefit period 45 %. If you leave your job by giving notice to your employer yourself or by mutual agreement, without any serious reason, you will receive job-seekers’ allowance at a rate of 45 % of your average net monthly salary throughout the benefit period.
If you take up training while looking for a new job, then you may be eligible to receive 60 % of your previous income while you are training. However, job seeker's allowance/ unemployment support is subject to a maximum limit, which is calculated as 2.5 times a "minimum subsistence amount", set by law.
While you are looking for a new job and receiving unemployment support, you have the right to additional earnings as long as these do not exceed half the minimum wage or take up more than 20 hours a week.
Plenty of information about life and work in the Czech Republic and about job vacancies registered with the Labour Office can be found on the European portal EURES, where you may also upload your CV for free to their database, to which employers have access.