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The Russian invasion of Ukraine and Czech labour law

  • Czech Republic

    29-03-2022

    Impact on Czech employment

    On 24 February 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. The Ukrainian government has announced a general mobilisation, which includes conscription for all men between the ages of 18 and 60.

    A set of new laws regulating the status of Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic and their involvement in society, the so-called "Lex Ukraine" laws, were approved.

    We are providing employers with an overview of situations they may encounter with their Ukrainian employees and related recommendations.

    Last update: 29. 3. 2022

    Contents:

    1. UA employee receives a call-up order
    7. Financial aid for refugees from Ukraine 
    2. UA employee wishes to go to Ukraine voluntarily 8. Obtaining employment in the Czech Republic
    3. It is possible to terminate UA employees? 9. Health insurance
    4. Discrimination at the workplace
    10. Social and other help
    5. Arrival of Ukrainian citizens to the Czech Republic  
    11. Important contacts
    6. Obtaining Czech residency permits for Ukrainian citizens

    1. UA employee receives a call-up order

    • If a UA employee receives a call-up order, he/she may travel and leave his/her employment.
    • From the point of view of Czech law, this will be an excused obstacle to work on the part of the employee. The employee should prove the existence of the obstacle to the employer (e.g. by submitting a call-up order) or at least notify it.
    • The employer is obliged to excuse the absence of the employee at work (the employee is entitled to time off), for the entire period of the obstacle (validity of the call-up order).
    • The employee will not be entitled to any wage compensation. However, we recommend concluding an agreement on unpaid leave. The employer may provide wage compensation voluntarily.
    • Alternatively, an agreement can be concluded with the employee on termination of employment with a termination date of several months ahead, while if the situation in Ukraine has changed by then and UA employee has returned to the Czech Republic, the agreement may be terminated and the employment continued.
    • However, the UA's employment will last at most for the validity period of the employee card based on which they were allowed to perform work in the Czech Republic.
    • The employer itself cannot in any way encourage or coerce the employee to obey the call-up order. If UA employee decides to stay in the Czech Republic and disobey the call-up order, the employer must respect this decision.
    • According to the available information, there are in fact no sending of calling orders to UA citizens located abroad.decision.

    2. UA employee want to Ukraine voluntarily

    • The Ukrainian employee voluntarily decides that they want to return to Ukraine in order to contact their family or help in the fighting.
    • We recommend that you agree with such an employee on:
      • the taking of holiday leave, or
      • the conclusion of an agreement on unpaid leave for a certain period during which the employee will not be entitled to compensation of wages, or
      • the conclusion of an agreement on the dissolution of employment similar to the previous situation.

    3. It is possible to terminate UA employees?

    Failure to perform work due to UA military service based on a call-up order cannot be considered ground for termination of employment under which it would be possible to terminate the employee's employment. However, it is possible to terminate the employment of such an employee only based on legal reasons for termination.

    In our opinion, the so-called protection period under Section 53 (1) (b) of the Labour Code, during which an employee cannot be terminated, cannot be applied to an employee during the period of operational deployment on the basis of a UA call-up order. According to the wording and terminology of the Labour Code, the given provision applies only to citizens who are in operational deployment based on a Czech call-up order.

    4. Discrimination at the workplace

    • Conflicts in the workplace may arise in connection with the invasion of Ukraine.
    • Be advised that it is still necessary to avoid any discrimination, e.g. on the basis of nationality or citizenship, and to respect the obligation of equal treatment of all employees, even job seekers.
    • Employers should pay attention to job vacancies "for Ukrainians". This is a discriminatory offer, favoring one nationality.

    5. Arrival of Ukrainian citizens to the Czech Republic

    • All border crossings with Poland and Slovakia are open without restrictions (non-stop).
    • Persons traveling from Ukraine to the Czech Republic are exempt from Czech anti-epidemic measures in terms of travel and COVID-19 (they do not need a mandatory test or vaccination).
    • Entry into the Czech Republic is permitted based on any official identity document. A biometric passport is not strictly required, although we highly recommend to have one.
    • At present, citizens of Ukraine can use a free train ride directly from the border as a transport to specific places. Some local authorities, including Prague, have also introduced an exemption from public transport fares.
    • It is possible to use private auxiliary transport, such as offered, for example, by Drive for Refugees.

    6. Obtaining Czech residency permits for refugees from Ukraine

    • As part of visa-free travel, refugees who hold a biometric passport can stay in the Czech Republic for up to 90 days.
    • All arriving Ukrainians continue to be obliged to report their presence in the Czech Republic and a place of stay at the Foreign Police, newly to 30 days from arrival.
    • Based on the the newly effective "Lex Ukraine" set of laws, refugees from Ukraine are granted "special temporary protection", which, as a result of an EU Council decision, is the same throughout the EU. A refugee can only apply for this protection in one EU country and only one EU country can grant it.
    • Temporary protection means a right to stay in the territory of a particular state, which then allows refugees to integrate into working life in that state.
    • Temporary protection applies to persons (and their family members) who resided in the territory of the UA before 24 February 2022 and are:státními příslušníky UA,
      • UA nationals,
      • persons who have resided in the UA and cannot return to their country,
      • stateless persons or third-country nationals who have been granted international protection or equivalent national protection in the UA.
    •  Temporary protection can be requested from the Ministry of the Interior - OAMP or the Police of the Czech Republic. It is necessary to fill in an application form, present a passport and a photograph (if the applicant does not have one, it will be taken on the spot).
    • The granting of temporary protection is indicated by a label/record in the passport (if the foreigner does not have a passport, the Ministry of the Interior or the Police of the Czech Republic may issue one).
    • A foreigner who has already been issued a long-term special visa after 24 February 2022 is considered to have been granted temporary protection.
    • The "Lex Ukraine" laws are effective until 31 March 2023, but of course can be extended.
    • More information including the necessary forms can be found HERE.

    7. Financial aid for refugees from Ukraine

    • Based on Lex Ukraine, refugees from Ukraine will be entitled to one-off humanitarian aid of CZK 5,000 per month to cover basic living needs.
    • In case of proving no or low income, the benefit can be applied for repeatedly for up to 5 months. The benefit is paid by regional branches of the Labour Office.
    • Subsequently, refugees from Ukraine should be allowed to enter the system of material need, which includes, for example, the following benefits:
      • subsistence allowance
      • housing contribution
      • extraordinary one-off immediate assistance.
    • The subsistence allowance and the housing supplement are regular monthly aid, the amount of which depends on the applicant's real income and means.
    • Any financial assistance will be sent only to a bank account established with a Czech bank. If the refugee does not have such an account, it is recommended to set one up immediately.
    • More information on all benefits can be found HERE.

    8. Obtaining employment in the Czech Republic

    • Persons arriving from Ukraine do not have free access to the labour market in the Czech Republic.
    • To be hired, it was necessary to obtain a work permit from the labour office or an employee card, and to obtain these permits it was necessary to have already concluded an employment contract with a specific employer.
    •  A citizen of Ukraine can only apply for jobs listed database of job vacancies, where the offer of vacant positions must be sent by the employer itself. An employer cannot employ a Ukrainian citizen directly
    • Now newly that Lex Ukraine has been issued, a refugee from the UA who has been granted temporary protection is considered a permanent resident alien and thus has direct access to the free labour market like any other Czech or EU citizen.
    • A refugee from the UA does not need to obtain a work permit to be employed.
    • The employer is still obliged to report the refugee from the UA as a new employee to the relevant regional office of the Labour Office.
    • Occupational health service providers are required by the Ministry of Health to conduct occupational health examinations of newly recruited employees from the UA to take advantage of all opportunities to indicate the necessary specialist examinations, given the higher incidence of tuberculosis in Ukraine.
    • Further information on getting a job is provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, e.g. HERE

    9. Health insurance

    • Every foreigner residing in the Czech Republic must have health insurance.
    • A citizen of Ukraine who is duly employed in the Czech Republic or who has temporary protection (special long-term visa) is automatically included in the Czech public health insurance system.
    • Otherwise, you are obliged to take out your own health insurance.
    • Further information on the provision of health services can be found HERE.

    10. Social and other help

    • A natural person who has provided accommodation free of charge to refugees from the UA who have temporary protection is entitled to a solidarity household allowance of CZK 3,000 per person accommodated, up to a maximum of CZK 12,000 per household.
    • A child of a foreigner with temporary protection may attend a children's group (the group may draw state allowances for this child for 6 months, even if the parent is not working or studying).
    • Special enrolment for children of foreigners with temporary protection for pre-school and primary education is introduced for the next school year from 1 June to 15 July 2022

    11. Important contacts

     

    This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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