News for employers
The rules of pay subsidy to change on 1 July 2023
The pay subsidy reform aims to simplify the system and increase the use of the pay subsidy. The amount of the pay subsidy will be harmonised. After the reform, the subsidy will cover 50% of payroll costs. When employing people with reduced capacity for work, the subsidy will cover 70% of payroll costs. Pay subsidy will no longer cover non-wage payroll costs or holiday bonuses payable by the employer.
Depending on the duration of the unemployment preceding the pay subsidy period, the pay subsidy will usually be granted for a period of five or ten months. As long as the conditions for the subsidy are met, the pay subsidy can be granted again for the same person for a new job without a waiting period. As a rule, the subsidy cannot be granted to an employer who has received a pay subsidy for the payroll costs of the same person during the preceding three years.
As part of the reform, a new employment subsidy for those aged 55 or over will be introduced. This subsidy will be granted without consideration of expediency, as long as the conditions for the subsidy are met. The subsidy will cover 70% of the eligible payroll costs for a maximum period of 10 months.
Employers’ obligations regarding occupational safety will be specified in the law entering into effect on 1 June 2023
Amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health Act are entering into force on 1 June 2023. The amendments specify employers’ general duty of care, the aspects which need to be taken into account when identifying and assessing the hazards of the work, as well as the duties of employers regarding the instruction and guidance provided to the employee.
The amendments are meant to contribute to the Government’s goal of promoting coping at work among people over 55 and to reduce the number of people leaving the workforce before their retirement age. In the future, employers must take the employees’ personal abilities more carefully into account when implementing occupational safety and health measures.
In the future, employers must consider the effects of employees’ ageing when identifying and assessing the hazards of the work. In their assessment of risks, the employers must take into account workload factors related to the content of work, work arrangements and the social functioning of the work community.
These amendments specify the current regulations. The amended law does not introduce any new obligations. Instead, it defines more specifically the aspects which the employers have to take into account in order to comply with their general obligations regarding occupational health and safety.
Whistleblower Act in force on 1/1/2023
The Whistleblower Act will require protections for people who report on wrongdoings. The Act is based on the EU’s Whistleblower Directive. The Act will create a framework for the reporting of abuses and illegal activities and the kind of protection to be offered to the people who report them. A whistleblower will be protected against retaliation, meaning someone who reports abuse or failings may not be treated disadvantageously because of his or her reporting.
Failings observed in a company’s operations must first be reported using the company’s internal reporting channel, allowing the company to examine the substance of the claim and take necessary follow-up action. If no internal reporting channel exists or if the steps taken are not enough, the whistleblower can report the issue via official channels or go public.
Companies with at least 50 employees must set up an internal reporting channel. This channel does not need use any technology, and the company can decide itself whether anonymous reports are accepted and whether it is open to people other than the company’s employees. A company can also voluntarily set up a whistleblowing channel.
Companies with fewer than 250 employees will benefit from a transition period: these companies must establish a reporting channel by 17 December 2023. Companies with 250 employees or more must launch an internal reporting channel within three months of the Act’s entry into force, that is, by end of March 2023.
Companies of any size which fall within the remit of the Preventing and Clearing Money Laundering Act must establish a reporting channel. If a company already has a reporting channel required by the Preventing and Clearing Money Laundering Act, it does not need to establish a new channel.
Changes to the Employment Contracts Act and Working Time Act 1.8.2022
The changes to the Employment Contracts Act and Working Time Act enter into effect on 1 August 2022. The changes concern the information provided to an employee at the beginning of their employment relationship, and the status of employees working under varying working time contracts. The changes are based in part on the EU’s working conditions directive and in part on government policy.
At the beginning of an employee’s employment, the employer must provide the employee with a written report of the central terms and conditions of the employment relationship, if these are not described in writing in the employment contract. The deadline for presenting this report is now shorter and more information needs to be provided.
As for varying working time contracts, the new regulations require that working time is reviewed at an interval of 12 months. If this review indicates that the minimum working time in the contract could be increased, the employer needs to offer the employee the opportunity to change the working time condition of the contract.
Regarding varying working time contracts, the changed Working Time Act also contains new regulations for work shift planning and situations where the employer cancels a shift marked on the shift schedule.