The government approved an amendment with stricter regulations for agencies and a definition of illegal work

The government approved the amendment to tighten the agencies and the definition of illegal ;ce

Illustration photo – Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka.

Prague – The government approved a draft amendment tightening the rules for employment agencies and a new definition of illegal work. The changes should come into effect from January 2024. Labor Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL) said this at a press conference after the cabinet meeting. The standard will be discussed by the Parliament and then signed by the President. According to Jurečka, the amendment, among other things, strengthens control, increases fines and specifies when the agency's employment mediation permit can be withdrawn.

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“The aim is clearly and unambiguously to fight against illegal employment, with disguised employment. Our aim is to be able to protect those employers on the labor market who behave honestly and fairly, or agencies that follow the rules, so that at the same time they were able to tighten the legal conditions and enforceability of the law in practice where illegal employment occurs,” said the minister.

In the documents for the draft, the Ministry of Labor states that now more long-term activities are considered illegal work. Employers argue when exposed that it was only a few hours, evidence of longer work performance is difficult to secure, the authors of the amendment said. The new definition should make it clear that the length of work is not taken into account.

The amendment specifies when the agency's permission can be withdrawn. It also provides that the agency should pay the costs of administrative proceedings that are conducted because of violations of its duties.

Agencies are now required to have compulsory bankruptcy insurance. The proposed amendment cancels the obligation. According to the ministry, agency workers should receive the same protection as employees of other companies that have become insolvent. Under certain conditions, the labor office could then request compensation for unpaid wages. The resort said it does not anticipate a “marked increase in expenses”.

A deposit could be raised when applying for a permit to mediate employment. Applicants could pay one million crowns to the employment office instead of 500,000 crowns. When the agency was dissolved, according to the ministry, in many cases the amount of half a million was not enough to cover the arrears of health and social contributions. The new condition for the establishment of an agency should also be debt-free, already when applying for a permit, the agency would also have to have its headquarters and place of business indicated.

Agencies should provide more information on an obligatory basis. They would regularly report to the General Directorate of the Labor Office how many people they are assigning and to which industries and fields. The state does not have this data now. Foreign agencies that send workers to the Czech Republic should also report this.

According to the amendment, companies should only use an agency employee for a limited period of time. He could work for them for a maximum of three years in a five-year period. If the employer still needs the worker, he should give him a normal contract. It should not now be possible to fire a fixed-term agency employee from one day to another if they end their work earlier. He would have to learn about the conclusion of cooperation at least two weeks in advance.