Slovakia: Changes to secondment of employees
Changes to secondment regulations took effect from 1 March 2015, including the following changes:
- excluding secondments to do hazardous work;
- preventing onward secondment of secondees;
- introducing anti-avoidance provisions;
- capping the maximum duration of a secondment;
- refining the definition of secondment; and
- allowing secondments to include grounds for termination before the end of the fixed period.
The changes are contained in an amendment to the Labour Code which has been passed by the Slovak National Council.
From 1 March 2015 it is not possible to second workers to do work included by the competent public health agency in Category 4 under the Act on Protection, Support and Development of Public Health, namely work:
- carrying a high health risk;
- with known effects on health; or
- where the limits of hazardous work factors are exceeded
No secondment chains
Employers are no longer able to further second an employee who has been seconded to them.
A new definition of secondment is being introduced to prevent service agreements being used as a front for secondment. As well as covering work where the employee is assigned tasks by a legal or natural person, secondment also covers work:
- carried out by the employee mainly at the premises of a legal or natural person;
- using mainly tools or equipment provided by (but not necessarily owned by) the legal or natural person;
- comprising an activity which the legal or natural person pursues as its business object (and which is registered in the commercial or trade register).
Secondments may no longer be for a term exceeding 24 months and can only be extended or repeated up to four times over a period of 24 months. This change aims to stop secondments being used as a way of bypassing a direct employee/employer relationship between the secondee and the user employer, and also covers a situation where an employee is seconded by another employer or a temporary staffing agency to the same user employer.
These changes mirror those used in Germany to stop employees being seconded repeatedly to the same user employer by different agencies. Once the maximum secondment term is exhausted (24 months, counted from the start of the first secondment), the employer or agency must wait six or four months (depending on the reason for the secondment) before they can second the employee again.
The secondment cap and renewal restriction do not apply to the secondment of employees as temporary cover for someone on e.g. maternity/parental/sick leave.
The penalty for employers ignoring the cap and renewal restriction will be termination (by operation of law) of the employee's employment with the original employer or temporary staffing agency and the establishment of an indefinite employment relationship between the employee and the user employer.
Liability of user employer
The user employer (whether a legal or natural person) is now liable for the secondee's salary. The employer or agency must pay the secondee a salary that is at least the same as that paid by the user employer to comparable employees; if not, the user employer is liable to make up the difference to the secondee within 15 days of the payday agreed between the agency and the secondee.
For this reason, user employers should take care, when choosing a temporary staffing agency or other secondment partner, to make sure that any secondment agreement they enter into contains the appropriate control mechanisms, sanctions and other protections.
Restrictions on immediate secondment
Only temporary staffing agencies are able to second an employee within the first three months of starting work, to prevent unlicensed agencies from operating in this area.
Responsibilities of the user employer
Secondees may only be sent on business trips by the user employee, who must provide the secondee with a travel allowance and bear the risk of an accident.
The user employer is required to keep secondment records containing identification data for the secondee and the original employer/agency, and the start and end dates of the secondment. They must also keep track of the secondee's working hours during the secondment (to simplify the process for monitoring secondees' working hours).