Social Counselling

Essentials of an Employment Contract

How does an employment begins?

  • an employment usually commences on the basis of an employment contract
  • an employment contract must be in writing in two originals, one of which must be given to the employee (if the contract has not been concluded in writing, the employer is in breach of law and is subject to fine)
  • your employer must not change a signed employment contract without your consent
  • an employment contract can be changed or amended only by a written amendment (if you agree with the change, you sign the amendment)
  • your rights and obligations are written in your employment contract or in attached documents
  • complete regulation of employee’s right and obligations can be found in the Labour Code, “Zákoník práce”

What can you find in an employment contract?

An employment contract must contain:

Day of the commencement of the employment

  • date; the employment begins on this day
  • it can be any day, it does not have to be a work day
  • if you don’t come to work on the first day, the employer can withdraw from the contract

Type of work

  • a profession or a position description the employee pledges to carry out for the employer
  • it is better if your work is described in more detail in your contract (if your work is described too vaguely, the employer can give you different work than you expect)
  • the contract can also contain description of the content of your work – tasks of the position would be described herein

Workplace

  • address or a town where you will regularly work
  • more places can be mentioned here (even the whole Czech Republic) – attention, the employer can ask you to work in any of these places

An employment contract can contain:

Trial period

  • a period at the beginning of the employment during which both you and the employer can immediately terminate the employment contract even without giving a reason (this period is not obligatory, but it is common)
  • it may last up to 3 months, but it can be shorter (it can last up to 6 months in case of management staff)
  • must be concluded in writing on the first day of the employment at the latest
  • an employer is not allowed to require it later or prolong it (however, it is automatically prolonged by the number of days the employee is on sick leave or on paid leave)

Salary

  • in your employment contract there is written how much you will get paid for 1 hour or for 1 month = gross salary (this salary is subject to social insurance, health insurance and income tax)
  • there can be written either one figure or several figures in your contract (basic remuneration, bonuses, tax deductions)
  • the contract usually includes the pay day and means of payment (the day when you get paid in cash or to your bank account)
  • if your salary is written in the contract, it can be changed by the employer only with your consent
  • if the salary is written in an attached document, your consent is not necessary for it being changed by the employer

Paid leave (holiday)

  • it can be given in number of days or weeks in the contract
  • you are entitled to at least 4 weeks/20 days of paid leave in a year, the employer can give you extra leave
  • you have to learn the rules who and when to ask for the leave, how many days of leave you can use at once and when you can take paid leave
  • the number of day of paid leave is given for one calendar year (i.e. if you start to work later in the year, the length of leave you are entitled to gets shorter)

Working hours

  • it is written in your contract how many days a week you are required to work (40 hours a week is the maximum)
  • your contract can further contain information on whether your working hours are regular or irregular, work shifts, with postponed beginning, etc.
  • for serious operational reasons, the employer can order you to work overtime, maximum 8 hours a week and 150 hours a year (or more if you agree with it). If your employer determines your salary as including overtime work, you won’t get paid for these extra hours (otherwise you get extra pay or extra time off)

Employment period

  • it can be written in the contract whether it is for a limited period of time or an unlimited period of time
  • it can be further mentioned how the employment contract can be terminated

In the case you have any employment problems, contact the local Labour Inspectorate (contacts can be found at http://www.suip.cz ).

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