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Work-from-home regulations delayed

Illustrative background
Work-from-home regulations delayed

What will be the outcome of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' efforts to introduce home office legislation? Who all will have the right to work from home? Let's see what lawmakers come up with.

Efforts by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA) to make it easier for employees to work from home are stalling. The draft Labour Code that would introduce it is already three months past the public consultation stage, but the comments have still not been finalised. This means that there is still a lack of binding rules on teleworking, which some research suggests is used at least partially by up to a third of employees.

It is uncertain exactly when they will become binding, although the ministry promises that it should finalise the draft in the coming weeks. It is likely that the number of people who will have the right to work from home will be much lower than in the original version.

Disagreements over age

In the original proposal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, it was suggested that parents of children under 15, pregnant women or people who have been caring for a severely disabled person for a long time should have the right to work from home by law . If they request this in writing, the employer should comply under threat of financial penalties or should justify the refusal on serious grounds.

There are situations where serious operational reasons or the nature of the work may justify an employee's absence from the workplace. This applies, for example, to shop assistants, labourers or other professions where the presence of the employee at the workplace is necessary.

Work-from-home regulations delayed

Most of the main agencies, such as ministries or the Cabinet Office, have opposed the proposal. For example, they have called for the age limit for children to be lowered to eight years.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has not specified what changes it will make in this area, but according to information it has published in recent months, working from home should apply to pregnant employees and people caring for a child under the age of nine or a severely disabled person.

What about the amount of compensation? 

Disputes have arisen over the amount of compensation that employers should pay to employees working from home. These costs relate, for example, to electricity or home heating. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has tentatively set the amount of compensation at CZK 2.80 for each hour of work. With 160 hours worked per month, this would amount to CZK 448. Critics argued that people working from home, on the other hand, would save the cost of travelling to work and that compensation should be voluntary.

The Ministry said that employers will be able to order telework in unusual situations if they take into account the interests of employees. An example of such a situation would be a viral pandemic such as that caused by COVID-19.