With the new year come new laws and regulations that affect anyone living in Prague and the Czech Republic. From a boost in the minimum wage to a change in the way we call in sick to work, these are some of the legal changes to pay attention to in 2020, says Lukáš Vajda of Sniehotta & Vajda Legal, a Prague-based law firm that specializes in providing legal services to foreign companies, managers and expats in general.
Increased minimum wage
From January 1, the minimum wage in the Czech Republic increased. This new legislation influences both monthly wages, newly set to 14,600 CZK per month, and hourly wage, which increased to 87.3 CZK. Those changes also affect guaranteed wages (in the Czech Republic there is a system of different types of jobs based mostly on their difficulty and professional qualification) that now range from 14,600 CZK to 29,200 CZK. According to economic experts a “dignified” monthly gross minimum wage for full time work, sufficient to cover basic needs, free-time activities, and small savings, is 31,463 CZK. In Prague, that sum should be higher, 36,850 CZK, due to higher costs of living.
Cancellation of paper sick notes
Calling in sick to work? The electronic sick note will now replace paper notes, allowing employers to access all the information directly from the electronic portal of Czech social security. This means employees will no longer be obliged to provide any physical documents. They will, however, be required to e-mail or call the office on a sick day. Moving forward, communication with government officials is expected to become more electronic in general — a bills that’s currently in the Senate would guarantee individuals the right to communicate with officials via electronic means (the Act of the Right to Digital Services). It is assumed that the law will take effect in 2020.
Tightened Airbnb regulations
Municipalities now have the right to introduce a “residence fee” applicable to any kind of short-term stay in return for payment. These will now include apartments and houses used for short-term rentals such as those used by Airbnb and similar platforms. Each municipality can set any amount that would not exceed 21 CZK per day per person in 2020 with an increase up to 50 CZK in the following years.
Evidence of ownership
For the past couple of years, companies have been required to state their ownership in the register. Up until now, however, there was no punishment in place for those who failed to do so. A new bill expected to enter into effect by next December sets a penalty of up to 250,000 CZK for businesses that do not declare “an ultimate beneficial owner” (defined as an individual who is the financial beneficiary of the company). Some of the data such as the name or the country of residence of the actual owners should also be made public record according to the bill.
Changing mobile network operator made easier
April will bring good news for those who want to change their mobile network operator. The transition from one operator to another should be arranged by the new operator. The penalty for early termination of a contract will be reduced from 20% to 5% of the total sum of payments remaining until the end of the contract. In the case of a fixed-term contract, there will be no penalty for terminating it after three months of its force. In addition, the period for termination of a contract caused by a change in operator is slashed from 10 to 2 days. All the changes are applicable not only for consumers but also for freelancers.
Electronic records of sales
The last phase of the Electronic Records of Sales (EET) will commence in May. All cash payments will have to be recorded by all craftsmen and individuals that are engaged in a freelance profession. Newly, this obligation will also doctors, attorneys, and service providers such as plumbers.